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Technical Paper

Wear Resistance of Lunar Wheel Treads Made of Polymeric Fabrics

The purpose of this research is to characterize the wear resistance of wheel treads made of polymeric woven and non-woven fabrics. Experimental research is used to characterize two wear mechanisms: (1) external wear due to large sliding between the tread and rocks, and (2) external wear due to small sliding between the tread and abrasive sand. Experimental setups include an abrasion tester and a small-scale merry-go-round where the tread is attached to a deformable rolling wheel. The wear resistance is characterized using various measures including, quantitatively, by the number of cycles to failure, and qualitatively, by micro-visual inspection of the fibers’ surface. This paper describes the issues related to each experiment and discusses the results obtained with different polymeric materials, fabric densities and sizes. The predominant wear mechanism is identified and should then be used as one of the criteria for further design of the tread.
Technical Paper

VoGe: A Voice and Gesture System for Interacting with Autonomous Cars

In the next 20 years fully autonomous vehicles are expected to be in the market. The advance on their development is creating paradigm shifts on different automotive related research areas. Vehicle interiors design and human vehicle interaction are evolving to enable interaction flexibility inside the cars. However, most of today’s vehicle manufacturers’ autonomous car concepts maintain the steering wheel as a control element. While this approach allows the driver to take over the vehicle route if needed, it causes a constraint in the previously mentioned interaction flexibility. Other approaches, such as the one proposed by Google, enable interaction flexibility by removing the steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals. However, this prevents the users to take control over the vehicle route if needed, not allowing them to make on-route spontaneous decisions, such as stopping at a specific point of interest.
Technical Paper

Use of Cellphones as Alternative Driver Inputs in Passenger Vehicles

Automotive drive-by-wire systems have enabled greater mobility options for individuals with physical disabilities. To further expand the driving paradigm, a need exists to consider an alternative vehicle steering mechanism to meet specific needs and constraints. In this study, a cellphone steering controller was investigated using a fixed-base driving simulator. The cellphone incorporated the direction control of the vehicle through roll motion, as well as the brake and throttle functionality through pitch motion, a design that can assist disabled drivers by excluding extensive arm and leg movements. Human test subjects evaluated the cellphone with conventional vehicle control strategy through a series of roadway maneuvers. Specifically, two distinctive driving situations were studied: a) obstacle avoidance test, and b) city road traveling test. A conventional steering wheel with self-centering force feedback tuning was used for all the driving events for comparison.
Technical Paper

Testing a Formula SAE Racecar on a Seven-Poster Vehicle Dynamics Simulator

Vehicle dynamics simulation is one of the newest and most valuable technologies being applied in the racing world today. Professional designers and race teams are investing heavily to test and improve the dynamics of their suspension systems through this new technology. This paper discusses the testing of one of Clemson University's most recent Formula SAE racecars on a seven-poster vehicle dynamics simulator; commonly known as a “shaker rig.” Testing of the current dampers using a shock dynamometer was conducted prior to testing and results are included for further support of conclusions. The body of the paper is a discussion of the setup and testing procedures involved with the dynamic simulator. The results obtained from the dynamic simulator tests are then analyzed in conjunction with the shock dynamometer results. Conclusions are formed from test results and methods for future improvements to be applied in Formula SAE racing are suggested.
Technical Paper

Teaching Autonomous Vehicles How to Drive under Sensing Exceptions by Human Driving Demonstrations

Autonomous driving technologies can provide better safety, comfort and efficiency for future transportation systems. Most research in this area has mainly been focused on developing sensing and control approaches to achieve various autonomous driving functions. Very little of this research, however, has studied how to efficiently handle sensing exceptions. A simple exception measured by any of the sensors may lead to failures in autonomous driving functions. The autonomous vehicles are then supposed to be sent back to manufacturers for repair, which takes both time and money. This paper introduces an efficient approach to make human drivers able to online teach autonomous vehicles to drive under sensing exceptions. A human-vehicle teaching-and-learning framework for autonomous driving is proposed and the human teaching and vehicle learning processes for handling sensing exceptions in autonomous vehicles are designed in detail.
Technical Paper

Real-Time Reinforcement Learning Optimized Energy Management for a 48V Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Energy management of hybrid vehicle has been a widely researched area. Strategies like dynamic programming (DP), equivalent consumption minimization strategy (ECMS), Pontryagin’s minimum principle (PMP) are well analyzed in literatures. However, the adaptive optimization work is still lacking, especially for reinforcement learning (RL). In this paper, Q-learning, as one of the model-free reinforcement learning method, is implemented in a mid-size 48V mild parallel hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) framework to optimize the fuel economy. Different from other RL work in HEV, this paper only considers vehicle speed and vehicle torque demand as the Q-learning states. SOC is not included for the reduction of state dimension. This paper focuses on showing that the EMS with non-SOC state vectors are capable of controlling the vehicle and outputting satisfactory results. Electric motor torque demand is chosen as action.
Technical Paper

Prediction of Human Actions in Assembly Process by a Spatial-Temporal End-to-End Learning Model

It’s important to predict human actions in the industry assembly process. Foreseeing future actions before they happened is an essential part for flexible human-robot collaboration and crucial to safety issues. Vision-based human action prediction from videos provides intuitive and adequate knowledge for many complex applications. This problem can be interpreted as deducing the next action of people from a short video clip. The history information needs to be considered to learn these relations among time steps for predicting the future steps. However, it is difficult to extract the history information and use it to infer the future situation with traditional methods. In this scenario, a model is needed to handle the spatial and temporal details stored in the past human motions and construct the future action based on limited accessible human demonstrations.
Technical Paper

Modeling and Learning of Object Placing Tasks from Human Demonstrations in Smart Manufacturing

In this paper, we present a framework for the robot to learn how to place objects to a workpiece by learning from humans in smart manufacturing. In the proposed framework, the rational scene dictionary (RSD) corresponding to the keyframes of task (KFT) are used to identify the general object-action-location relationships. The Generalized Voronoi Diagrams (GVD) based contour is used to determine the relative position and orientation between the object and the corresponding workpiece at the final state. In the learning phase, we keep tracking the image segments in the human demonstration. For the moment when a spatial relation of some segments are changed in a discontinuous way, the state changes are recorded by the RSD. KFT is abstracted after traversing and searching in RSD, while the relative position and orientation of the object and the corresponding mount are presented by GVD-based contours for the keyframes.
Technical Paper

Lap Time Simulation of Stock Cars on Super Speedways with Random Wind Gusts

This paper describes the development of a simplified model and simulation of a stock car subjected to both steady and random winds on a super speedway. Results indicate how lap times are affected by design and operational parameters and by winds. The simulation models a super speedway such as Talladega or Daytona. Inputs to the simulation include wind speed, wind direction, speed of wind gusts, and the duration and frequency of wind gusts. The program will output both total elapsed time and segregated times per each track section. Also, along with elapsed times, the output will include other characteristics pertaining to the performance of the car that allow the user to obtain a basic understanding of the general performance of the car. This paper will show how the car was modeled. Results for both head winds and crosswinds are shown.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Rollover, Lateral Handling, and Obstacle Avoidance Maneuvers of Tactical Vehicles

Current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are unique because the battlefield can be described as a non-linear, asymmetrical environment. Units operate in zones that are susceptible to enemy contact from any direction at any time. The response to these issues has been the addition of add-on armor to HMMWV's and other tactical vehicles. The retro-fitting of armor to these vehicles has resulted in many accidents due to rollover and instability. The goal of this paper is to determine possible causes of the instability and rollover of up-armored tactical vehicles and to develop simulation tools that can analyze the steady-state and transient dynamics of the vehicles. Models and simulations include a steady-state rollover scenario, analysis of understeer gradient, and a transient handling analysis that uses models of both a human driver and a vehicle to analyze vehicle response to an obstacle avoidance maneuver.
Technical Paper

Independent Torque Distribution Strategies for Vehicle Stability Control

This paper proposes and compares torque distribution management strategies for vehicle stability control (VSC) of vehicles with independently driven wheels. For each strategy, the following feedback control variables are considered turn by turn: 1) yaw rate 2) lateral acceleration 3) both yaw rate and lateral acceleration. Computer simulation studies are conducted on the effects of road friction conditions, feedback controller gains, and a driver emulating speed controller. The simulation results indicated that all VSC torque management strategies are generally very effective in tracking the reference yaw rate and lateral acceleration of the vehicle on both dry and slippery surface conditions. Under the VSC strategies employed and the test conditions considered, the sideslip angle of the vehicle remained very small and always below the desired or target values.
Technical Paper

Handling Deviation for Autonomous Vehicles after Learning from Small Dataset

Learning only from a small set of examples remains a huge challenge in machine learning. Despite recent breakthroughs in the applications of neural networks, the applicability of these techniques has been limited by the requirement for large amounts of training data. What’s more, the standard supervised machine learning method does not provide a satisfactory solution for learning new concepts from little data. However, the ability to learn enough information from few samples has been demonstrated in humans. This suggests that humans may make use of prior knowledge of a previously learned model when learning new ones on a small amount of training examples. In the area of autonomous driving, the model learns to drive the vehicle with training data from humans, and most machine learning based control algorithms require training on very large datasets. Collecting and constructing training data set takes a huge amount of time and needs specific knowledge to gather relevant information.
Journal Article

Fuzzy Logic Approach to Vehicle Stability Control of Oversteer

Traditional Electronic Stability Control (ESC) for automobiles is usually accomplished through the use of estimated vehicle dynamics from simplified models that rely on parameters such as cornering stiffness that can change with the vehicle state and time. This paper proposes a different method for electronic stability control of oversteer by predicting the degree of instability in a vehicle. The algorithm is solely based on measurable response characteristics including lateral acceleration, yaw rate, speed, and driver steering input. These signals are appropriately conditioned and evaluated with fuzzy logic to determine the degree of instability present. When the “degree of instability” passes a certain threshold, the appropriate control action is applied to the vehicle in the form of differential yaw braking. Using only the measured response of the vehicle alleviates the problem of degraded performance when vehicle parameters change.
Technical Paper

Fidelity of Vehicle Models Using Roll Center Principles

The ‘roll center’ concept has existed in vehicle dynamics for decades. However, its application is not commonly well understood. This paper considers roll center concepts in the modeling of a planar (front view) twin-beam suspension. Two roll center models are developed and compared to a third model, developed from the Lagrangian method without reference to a roll center. In addition to discussion of the equations of motion, analysis includes simulation of a ‘cornering’ maneuver. The effects of tire vertical stiffness, jacking forces, and nonlinear kinematics are investigated. Conclusions are drawn regarding the usefulness and accuracy of the roll center modeling.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of an Automotive Simulator Based Driver Safety Training Program for Run-Off-the-Road and Recovery

Despite the growing acceptance of driver education programs, there remains a class of unpredictable and dangerous vehicle situations for which very little training or education is offered. Included in this list is a condition called run-off-the-road (ROR) which occurs when the wheels of the vehicle leave the paved surface of the road and begin to travel on the lower friction surfaces of the shoulder or side of the road. Unsuccessful recovery from ROR contributes to an overwhelming percentage of motorized vehicle crash fatalities and injuries. Most present solutions involve roadway infrastructure management and driver assistance systems. While these solutions have contributed varying amounts of success to the ROR problem, they remain limited as they do not directly address the critical cause of ROR crashes which is driver performance errors.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of CarFit® Criteria Compliance and Knowledge of Seat Adjustment

Improper fit in a vehicle will affect a driver’s ability to reach the steering wheel and pedals, view the roadway and instrument gauges, and allow vehicle safety features to protect the driver during a crash. CarFit® is a community outreach program to educate older drivers on proper “fit” within their personal vehicle. A subset of measurements from CarFit® were used to quantify the “fit” of 97 older drivers over 60 and 20 younger drivers, ages 30-39, in their personal vehicles. Binary, logistic regression was used to assess the likelihood of drivers meeting the CarFit® measurement criteria prior to and after CarFit® education. The results showed older drivers were five times more likely than younger drivers to meet the CarFit® criteria for line of sight above the steering wheel, suggesting that younger drivers would also benefit from CarFit® education.
Technical Paper

Development of New Turbulence Models and Computational Methods for Automotive Aerodynamics and Heat Transfer

This paper is a review of turbulence models and computational methods that have been produced at Clemson University's Advanced Computational Research Laboratory. The goal of the turbulence model development has been to create physics-based models that are economically feasible and can be used in a competitive environment, where turnaround time is a critical factor. Given this goal, all of the work has been focused on Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations in the eddy-viscosity framework with the majority of the turbulence models having three transport equations in addition to mass, momentum, and energy. Several areas have been targeted for improvement in turbulence modeling for complex flows such as those found in motorsports aerodynamics: the effects of streamline curvature and rotation on the turbulence field, laminar-turbulent transition, and separated shear layer rollup and breakdown.
Technical Paper

Design of an Open-Loop Steering Robot Profile for Double Lane Change Maneuver Using Simulation

This paper presents a methodology for designing a simple open-loop steering robot profile to simulate a double lane change maneuver for track testing of a heavy tractor/trailer combination vehicle. For track testing of vehicles in a lane change type of maneuver, a human driver is typically used with a desired path defined with visual cues such as traffic cones. Such tests have been shown to result in poor test repeatability due to natural variation in driver steering behavior. While a steering robot may be used to overcome this repeatability issue, such a robot typically implements open-loop maneuvers and cannot be guaranteed to cause the vehicle to accurately follow a pre-determined trajectory. This paper presents a method using offline simulation to design an open-loop steering maneuver resulting in a realistic approximation of a double lane change maneuver.
Technical Paper

Conceptualization and Implementation of a Scalable Powertrain, Modular Energy Storage and an Alternative Cooling System on a Student Concept Vehicle

The Deep Orange program immerses automotive engineering students into the world of an OEM as part of their 2-year graduate education. In support of developing the program’s seventh vehicle concept, the students studied the sponsoring brand essence, conducted market research, and made a heuristic assessment of competitor vehicles. The upfront research lead to the definition of target customers and setting vehicle level targets that were broken down into requirements to develop various vehicle sub-systems. The powertrain team was challenged to develop a scalable propulsion concept enabled by a common vehicle architecture that allowed future customers to select (at the point of purchase) among various levels of electrification best suiting their needs and personal desires. Four different configurations were identified and developed: all-electric, two plug-in hybrid electric configurations, and an internal combustion engine only.
Technical Paper

Computational Method to Examine Spoke Dynamics in a High Speed Rolling Wheel

This paper describes a computational approach to investigating spoke vibrations in cast polyurethane spoked wheels during high-speed rolling. It focuses on four aspects: 1) Creating a two-dimensional finite element model of a cast polyurethane rolling wheel which is in contact with a rigid plane to observe the spoke vibrations. 2) Investigating the effect of rolling speed on the observed spoke vibrations. 3) Investigating the effect of spoke thickness on spoke vibration frequencies. 4) Creating a three-dimensional spoke model to investigate spoke vibrations which exhibit both symmetric and anti-symmetric out-of-plane modes.