Design synthesis of articulated heavy vehicles with active trailer steering systems

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A new design synthesis method for articulated heavy vehicles (AHVs) with an active trailer steering (ATS) system is examined and evaluated. Due to their heavy weights, large sizes, and complex configurations, AHVs have poor maneuverability at low speeds, and low lateral stability at high speeds. Various passive trailer steering and ATS systems have been developed for improving the low-speed maneuverability. However, they often have detrimental effects on the high-speed stability. To date, no systematic design synthesis method has been developed to coordinate the opposing design goals of AHVs. In this thesis, a new automated design synthesis approach, called a Single Design Loop (SDL) method, is proposed and investigated. The SDL method has the following distinguished features: 1) the optimal active design variables of ATS systems and the optimal passive vehicle design variables are searched in a single design loop; 2) in the design process, to evaluate the vehicle performance measures, a driver model is developed and it „drives‟ the vehicle model based on the well-defined testing specifications; and 3) the ATS controller derived from this method has two operational modes: one for improving the lateral stability at high speeds and the other for enhancing path-following at low speeds. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the new SDL method, it is applied to the design of an ATS system for an AHV with a tractor/full-trailer. In comparison to a conventional design approach, the SDL method can search through solutions in a much larger design space, and consequently it provides a more comprehensive set of optimal designs..
Articulated heavy vehicle, Design synthesis method, Active trailer steering, Rearward amplification, Off-tracking