FIELD AND SPACE ROBOTICS LABORATORY

DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

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High Speed Vehicle Stability

Principal Investigator

Steven Dubowsky

Group Members 

Dr. Karl Iagnemma, Research Scientist
Steven Peters, PhD student
Chris Ward, MS student

Project Overview

Vehicles traveling at high speed are subject to destabilizing mechanisms that can compromise vehicle stability and passenger safety. These mechanisms can be coupled and nonlinear, which makes compensation difficult. The goal of this program is to develop sensing and control methods for vehicle stability that robustly enhance vehicle stability at high speed.

Our preliminary analysis of existing stability controllers has found that they are typically developed with assumptions of flat ground and good traction, which is reasonable for many driving situations but certainly not always true. In particular, the shoulder of many roadways is sloped and bumpy and has lower traction. We will develop methods to detect these off-road disturbances and control techniques to ensure proper vehicle behavior.

Simulations

We are currently investigating the effect of varying surface conditions on the response of vehicles to certain maneuvers by computer simulation. Varying terrain conditions, such as traction and bumpiness, can be effectively simulated using ADAMS, a general purpose simulation package for mechanical systems with special templates created for automotive applications.

Control

There are a number of existing stability enhancement systems currently in use in the automotive industry, such as anti-lock braking (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC). Technological advances in vehicle systems, such as steer-by-wire and active suspension, provide further opportunities for stability enhancement. Current and future technologies will be evaluated for use in stability enhancement systems.

Sponsors

    Ford Motor Company

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