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- Dynamic Analysis of an Automobile Suspension System

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Dirk Odenthal, Tilman B

unte, J

urgen Ackermann

DLR, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Robotics and System Dynamics,

Oberpfaffenhofen, D-82230 Wessling, Germany

Fax: +49-8153-28 1847 and e-mail: Dirk.Odenthal@dlr.de, Tilman.Buente@dlr.de, Juergen.Ackermann@dlr.de

Keywords: Vehicle dynamics control, rollover avoidance, active steering, robust control, absolute stability.

Abstract

Steering and braking control is applied to avoid rollover of

road vehicles. The control concept presented is composed

of three feedback loops: Continuous operation steering

control, emergency steering control and emergency braking control. In continuous operation the roll rate and the

roll acceleration are fed back by velocity scheduled gains to

the front wheel steering angle. Thereby, the vehicles roll

damping is robustly improved for a wide range of speed

and height of the center of gravity. The latter may change

for example with a truck from ride to ride. A rollover coefficient is defined that basically depends on the lateral acceleration at the center of gravity of the vehicles sprung

mass. For critical values of this variable the emergency

steering and braking system is activated. The rollover coefficient is also used for nonlinear feedback to the front

wheel steering angle. The control concept is evaluated by

linear sensitivity analysis and by simulations. Additionally, absolute stability of the steering control concept is

verified using Popovs criterion.

Introduction

indirectly induce vehicle rollover. Examples are excessive

speed when entering a curve, severe lane change or obstacle avoidance maneuvers (in particular when the center of

gravity (CG) is high) or disturbance impact like sidewind.

One may distinguish two different categories of situations

from which rollover can arise: In the first case rollover is

caused directly, this is called rollover on a plane surface.

In the other case (tripped rollover) after the vehicle has

already entered a skidding state, rollover may occur if the

wheels hit an obstacle.

Vehicles with an elevated CG are especially threatened

by rollover. Also, rollover accidents very often result from

misinterpretation of the vehicle dynamics by the driver,

in particular when the CG height varies severely according to different payloads. From common sense it is clear

that the ratio of the track width and the CG height is

the most important parameter affecting vehicle rollover

risk. The track width is a fixed parameter whereas the

CG height is either (nearly) fixed (e.g. passenger cars) or

uncertain subject to varying loadings (e.g. trucks). In [1]

an online estimation method was presented which allows

to determine the height of the CG. Hence, we assume the

CG height to be known and constant during operation.

Present vehicle dynamics control systems using individual wheel braking (e.g. Electronic Stability Program, ESP

[2]) or active steering (e.g. Robust Steering Control, [3])

have been primarily established for passenger cars with a

low CG. These concepts can in general help to avoid skidding and thus help to avoid tripped rollover. However,

until now, the primary task of individual wheel braking

and active steering has been the stabilization of the yaw

motion.

In [4] a new approach was presented focussing on

rollover avoidance by active steering. There, an actuator

sets a small auxiliary front wheel steering angle in addition to the steering angle commanded by the driver. The

aim was to robustly decrease the rollover risk due to transient roll overshoot of the vehicles body when performing

lane change or obstacle avoidance maneuvers. The control

law consists of proportional feedback of both the roll rate

and the roll acceleration. The gains were fixed according to robustness and performance considerations in parameter space and time domain. The resulting controller

was shown to robustly reduce the maximum roll angle

overshoot after steering input steps for large variations of

the CG height in particular at high velocity. Moreover,

the roll damping was robustly improved. In [5] this controller was modified by gain scheduling against velocity

and CG height to achieve comparably good results also at

low speeds and different heights of CG. With this linear

control concept, however, the vehicle may still roll over in

case of too large steering wheel inputs.

In this paper a control concept is presented where the

linear steering control is extended by nonlinear emergency

steering and braking control. Section 2 describes a linear vehicle model which is used for the subsequent linear

z1

z2

section 3 the three control loops which form the rollover

avoidance control concept are explained. The performance

of the resulting system is investigated by means of a nonlinear simulation in section 4. There the controlled vehicle

is compared with the conventional vehicle when entering

a curve at risky speed.

CG2

m2 ay,2

m2 g

roll axis

h cos

Vehicle model

y2

y1

The main features of vehicle steering dynamics in a horizontal plane can be described by the single track model

[6]. To take into account the influence of the height of the

CG, this model is extended by the vehicles roll dynamics.

For straight driving at constant speed the following linear

differential equations represent the vehicles lateral, yaw

and roll dynamics:

m v m2 h = (cr lr cf lf ) m v r

v

(1)

(cf + cr ) + cf f

Jz r = (cf lf 2 + cr lr 2 ) r

v

(2)

+ (cr lr cf lf ) + cf lf f

J2,x + m2 h2 + d + (c m2 g h) = m2 h ay,1

(3)

ay,1 = v ( + r) .

(4)

The system states are the side slip angle of the unsprung

mass, the yaw rate r, the roll angle and the roll rate .

The system input is the front wheel steering angle f .

Numerical values of the parameters of the model, shown

in Tab. 1, are taken from [7]. In the sequel we assume dry

road ( = 1) and the deviation of the height h from its

nominal value to be known (e.g. estimated according to

[1] at the start of each ride).

cf = 582 kN/rad

cr = 783 kN/rad

c = 457 kN m/rad

d = 100 kN/rad

g = 9.81 m/s2

hR = 0.68 m

h = 1.15 m

J2,x = 24201 kg m2

Jz = 34917 kg m2

lf = 1.95 m

lr = 1.54 m

m = 14300 kg

m2 = 12487 kg

=1

T = 1.86 m

rear cornering stiffness

roll stiffness of passive suspension

roll damping of passive suspension

acceleration due to gravity

height of roll axis over ground

nominal height of CG2 over roll axis

roll moment of inertia, sprung mass

overall yaw moment of inertia

distance front axle to CG1

distance rear axle to CG1

overall vehicle mass

sprung mass

road adhesion coefficient

track width

hR

CG1

road

m1 g

Fz,R

Fz,L

A more detailed description of the model can be found

in [5].

Rollover coefficient

Fig. 1 illustrates some further physical assumptions for

the derivation of a rollover coefficient. The tire vertical

loads are denoted Fz,L and Fz,R . From the equilibrium

of vertical forces and balance of roll moments a rollover

coefficient R is defined as

Fz,R Fz,L

Fz,R + Fz,L

2 m2

ay,2

=

+ h sin .

(hR + h cos )

mT

g

R=

(5)

off and the rollover coefficient takes on the value R = 1

(R = 1). For straight driving on a horizontal road and

symmetric load R equals zero because Fz,R = Fz,L . Note,

that the vehicle model is only valid if |R| 1, which means

that all wheels have road contact.

Assuming m1 m2 , h sin (hR + h cos )ay,2 /g and

the roll angle to be small, eq. (5) is approximated by

R

2(hR + h) ay,2

,

T

g

(6)

According to this definition the ratio of track width T and

the height of CG2 hR + h is the most important vehicle

parameter affecting rollover risk. This corresponds well

with the results of an accident analysis [9]. The lateral

acceleration ay,2 at CG2 is related with the state variables

of the model by

ay,2 = v( + r) h .

(7)

of three feedback loops: Continuous operation steering

control, emergency steering control and emergency braking control. In addition to the steering angle s comPSfrag

manded by the driver, an auxiliary steering angle c is set

by an actuator, i.e. f = s +c . The actuator is modelled

as a third order dynamical filter

a3

(8)

+ 2 da a s + a2 )(s + a )

point a is formed by the sum of the continuous operation steering control signal and the emergency steering

control signal R . The latter and the braking force fx

are zero as long as the vehicle remains in a rollover stable

margin. This means that emergency steering and braking

The value of the

control are only activated for |R| > R.

and subject to the quality of the rollover coefficient signal

R. The latter mainly depends on the quality of the lateral

acceleration signals and the reliability of the CG height

= 0.9.

estimation. In this paper the threshold is set to R

In the sequel, the steering control concept shown in Fig. 2

fx,d

Ga (s) =

vehicle

actuator

h, v

uator

fx

el-

kp (h, v) + kd (h, v) s

continuous operation

steering control

3.1

1

kR

Figure 2: Controller structure.

is described and investigated. First, only the continuous

operation steering control concept is studied. Then this

replacements

The task of the controller design presented in [5] was to

reduce the rollover risk for a wide speed range v [v , v + ]

and a known (or even uncertain) height h [h , h+ ]. The

corresponding operating domain is shown in Fig. 3. This

h

(s2

concept is extended by adding emergency steering control and finally additional emergency braking control is

applied.

V4

V3

1.53 m

Q

0.77 m

V1

20 km/h

V2

100 km/h v

scheduled feedback of the roll rate and the roll acceleration, i.e. by the control law a = with

= kp (v, h) + kd (v, h) .

(9)

sensitivity analysis shows the robust performance of the

closed loop system.

With the feedback of and to the front wheel steering angle the roll damping of the vehicle was improved

considerably. In fact, the steering transfer function has

been shaped such that the roll mode is excited less in the

frequency range of the roll resonance frequency. Thus,

the risk of causing a rollover by steering excitation has

been reduced. However, even the controlled vehicle can

roll over if the steering input is large enough.

3.2

The nonlinear control introduced in this section can be interpreted as an intelligent steering angle limitation such

that rollover on a plane road can be completely avoided.

The key idea is that rollover avoidance is given priority

over lanekeeping because a tipped vehicle is no longer

steerable. To drive the narrowest curve which is physically possible, maximum lateral acceleration must be applied. The lateral acceleration is limited, however, by the

boundary where rollover occurs. This boundary is reached

if the vehicle is steered such that the inner wheels are

just about to lift off the road, corresponding to |R| = 1.

The optimal strategy to keep the narrowest curve possible while avoiding rollover would be to keep |R| = 1.

With some safety margin, this idea is implemented in

a nonlinear steering control law. Therefore, if the mag then the overstepping difference

nitude of R exceeds R,

R = kR sign(R) (|R| R)

steering angle f such that the curvature of the course is

slightly reduced and rollover is avoided, i.e. the emergency

steering control feedback is described by the relation

(

|R| > R

kR sign(R) (|R| R)

R =

(10)

.

0

|R| R

This strategy works very well as will be shown in section

4. In order to implement the prescribed effect, a dead

zone element is introduced into the emergency steering

feedback loop. The black line in Fig. 4 shows the characteristics of the dead zone with an absolute value threshold

and a slope of kR . This corresponds to the dead zone

of R

R

Sfrag replacements

1 R

1

kR

element in the emergency steering feedback loop in Fig. 2.

However, this nonlinear element in the loop induces the

risk of limit cycles. Therefore, a stability analysis is performed using Popovs sufficient criterion on absolute stability [10]. This criterion is briefly illustrated: We consider

a controlled system with one nonlinear function f in the

loop (the rest of which is linear and has the stable transfer

function G0 (s)). The characteristics of f lies within a sector [0, k], which is limited by the abscissa f1 (u) = 0 and

by the line f2 (u) = k u (k corresponds to kR in Fig. 4).

Popov proved that the system is absolutely stable, if the

locus

z = Re G0 (j) + j Im G0 (j), 0

(11)

(called the Popov plot) lies in the complex z-plane completely on the right hand side of a straight line (called

Popov line)

1

Im {z} = Re {z} +

(12)

k

with arbitrary slope .

To verify absolute stability for the nonlinear steering

control, Fig. 4 shows a Popov sector with slope kR (plotted

gray) which covers the characteristics of the dead zone

element. The depicted Popov plots in Fig. 5 belong to the

vertices of the operating domain. The different linestyles

correspond to those used in Fig. 3. For this analysis, G0 (s)

in eq. (11) is determined as the open loop transfer function

from R to R in Fig. 2. The vehicle and actuator dynamics

20

*

R

1/k

Im { z }

0

20

40

60

80

100

10

10

Re { z }

the operating domain.

with the parameter values in Tab. 1. Note, emergency

braking is not used for this analysis. Fig. 5 shows a Popov

line which touches twice the Popov plot corresponding to

the most critical vertex V4 . This choice for the Popov line

yields the largest intersection with the real axis 1/kR =

2.54 and therefore the maximum allowable Popov sector

with kR

= 0.39. For the investigations in the sequel, a

slope of kR = 0.35 in the dead zone element was chosen.

Hence, the system is absolutely stable at all investigated

operating points. This is true because all Popov plots lie

to the right hand side of the Popov line. Thus, it is ensured

that no limit cycles occur in the nonlinear steering control

loop.

3.3

Applying braking control requires the application of a nonlinear dynamic model of the vehicle with longitudinal velocity v as an additional state variable and the braking

force fx as an additional input (see Fig. 2). The presentation of this model is omitted here for the sake of brevity.

Note, however, that linearization for straight driving at

constant speed yields eqns. (1) - (3). fx is assumed to act

on CG1 in the vehicles longitudinal direction. The time

delay effect of the brakes is modelled by a first order lag

with a time constant of 0.1 s. The intention of emergency

braking is to make the deviation from the desired course

being induced by emergency steering control as small as

possible. This task is realized by decelerating the vehicle

as soon as the rollover coefficient becomes critical. The

braking action is described by the following relation:

(

0

|R| R

(13)

fx =

Note, that fx,d in Fig. 2 describes the brake pedal force set

by the driver. Alternatively, in a refined realization a dynamic characteristics is applied to distinguish between decreasing (R sign(R) > 0) and increasing (R sign(R) < 0)

rollover stability. Assuming decreasing rollover stability,

braking shall be implemented as fast as possible while

withdrawn. Such a dynamical relation is e.g. given by

50

45

4

6

time (s)

4

6

time (s)

60

y (m)

1

0.5

0

0

30

0

4

6

time (s)

30

60

x (m)

90

15

r (deg/s)

15

10

5

0

0

Simulation results

The simulations were performed using the nonlinear dynamic vehicle model mentioned in section 3.3, assuming

dry road and an unfavourably large height, h = 1.53 m.

Fig. 6 shows the responses of the conventional (dashed

line) and the controlled vehicle (solid line) when a ramplike input signal is applied to the steering wheel angle

s . Both braking control approaches are investigated.

The black solid line corresponds to braking action due to

eq. (13), the gray line is according to eq. (14). This maneuver is similar to driving through a highway exit with increasing curvature (clotoidal transition). After about 3.5 s

the conventional vehicle rolls over. The dashed line ends

with the vehicle rollover, but for the sake of comparability

the simulation is continued until the end of the maneuver

(dotted linestyle). Note that the simulation model is no

longer valid if |R| > 1. The difference of both vehicles

until 3.5 s indicates the effect of the continuous operation

steering control.

Emergency steering and braking control is switched on

after about 3.3 s when the rollover coefficient R implies

that the vehicle is close to rollover, i.e. |R| > 0.9. Due

to the fast and precise steering intervention the rollover

is avoided. However, only little track error occurs in the

vehicles position plot (x, y) in Fig. 6 because the vehicle

is simultaneously decelerated by the emergency braking

system.

Comparably advantageous results were obtained when

other maneuvers, e.g. lane change maneuvers, and variations of v and h were investigated in further simulations.

v (km/h)

0

0

55

4

6

time (s)

10

5

0

0

0.4

0.3

4

6

time (s)

4

6

time (s)

0.2

0.1

2

0

where R

rollover coefficient which is stored in a memory while in

increasing rollover stability state.

For ax,max a value of 0.4 g is set. Emergency braking and steering control have been integrated such that

rollover is avoided for a wide input range while even keeping the deviation from the desired course small.

Future development will be made on a refined strategy

for taking the right dose of braking impact. Not necessarily maximum deceleration has to be applied for the

achievement of minimum tracking error. Then the goal

will be to coordinate the steering and braking action in

a precise manner such that the lateral displacement from

the course as intended by the driver gets minimal.

(deg)

R sign(R) < 0

|R| > R

(14)

a /g

R

|R|

R

m ax,max

R

m ax,max

|R| R

R sign(R) > 0 ,

|R| > R

(deg)

d/dt (deg/s)

fx =

60

4

6

time (s)

0

0

ramp.

Conclusions

and braking control was presented which significantly reduces the rollover hazard caused by steering inputs. Gain

scheduled continuous steering control as described in [5]

forms an inner control loop which achieves improved roll

dynamics. For rollover emergency case, an outer nonlinear steering control loop avoids rollover at the cost of some

course deviation. This lane tracking error is, however, reduced by simultaneous deceleration which also supports

rollover counteraction. An exemplary simulation of a maneuver with a rampwise steering input illustrates the functionality of the control concept. The Popov criterion was

used to prove robust absolute stability of the nonlinear

steering control.

References

[1] S. Germann and R. Isermann, Determination of the

centre of gravity height of a vehicle with parameter

estimation, in IFAC Symposium on System Identification, (Copenhagen), 1994.

[2] A. v. Zanten, R. Erhardt, and G. Pfaff, FDR - die

Fahrdynamikregelung von Bosch, Automobiltechnische Zeitschrift, vol. 96, pp. 674689, 1994.

[3] J. Ackermann, D. Odenthal, and T. B

unte, Advantages of active steering for vehicle dynamics control, in Proc. International Symposium on Automotive Technology and Automation, (Vienna), 1999.

[4] J. Ackermann and D. Odenthal, Robust steering control for active rollover avoidance of vehicles

with elevated center of gravity, in Proc. International Conference on Advances in Vehicle Control

and Safety, (Amiens, France), July 1998.

[5] J. Ackermann and D. Odenthal, Damping of vehicle roll dynamics by gain scheduled active steering,

in European Control Conference, (Karlsruhe, Germany), 1999.

[6] P. Riekert and T. Schunck, Zur Fahrmechanik des

gummibereiften Kraftfahrzeugs, Ingenieur Archiv,

vol. 11, pp. 210224, 1940.

[7] R. C. Lin, D. Cebon, and D. J. Cole, Optimal

roll control of a single-unit lorry, in Proc. IMechE,

vol. 210, Part D, pp. 4555, 1996.

[8] D. N. Wormley, Analysis of automotive roll-over dynamics. Course at Carl Cranz Gesellschaft, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, 1992.

[9] R. W. Allen, H. T. Szostak, D. H. Klyde, T. J. Rosenthal, and K. J. Owens, Vehicle dynamic stability

and rollover, tech. rep., Systems Technology, Inc.,

Hawthorne, CA, 1992. U.S.-D.O.T., NHTSA.

[10] V. Popov, Absolute stability of nonlinear systems of

automatic control, Autom.& Rem. Control, vol. 22,

pp. 857875, 1962.

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