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Title: Vehicle path optimisation and controllability on the limit using optimal control techniques
Author: Komatsu, Ayao
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2010
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Vehicle behaviour near the limit of adhesion is studied using linear optimal . control techniques and relatively simple vehicle models. Both time-invariant and time-varying approaches are used. Controllability is applied as a post-processing tool to analyse the resultant vehicle behaviour. First, a 4WS controller is developed using a linear time-invariant method, with a reference model control structure. Two handling objectives are defined, which are thought to provide predictable dynamics. Advantages of using a reference model control are clearly shown. With a developed control structure, it is shown that the prescribed target dynamics is achieved, provided tyre forces are available. It is also found that the controller is robust to small changes in the various vehicle parameter values. As a next step, time-varying modelling approach was used in order to better represent the vehicle operating conditions through the various dynamic range, including the limit of adhesion. An iterative vehicle path optimisation problem is formulated using a linear time-varying control approach. The validity of the optimisation method is studied against the steady-state simulation result at the limit of adhesion. It is shown that the method is capable of finding a trajectory in the vicinity of the friction limit, where the front tyres are used fully whilst retaining some margin at the rears. However, a couple of Issues are discovered. First, due to the quadratic nature of the road geometry cost function, the trajectory could get locked if the vehicle runs very close to the edge of the road. Hence, the . optimisation needs to be formulated such that the level of "optimality" on the trajectory remains consistent throughout the manoeuvre at each iteration. Secondly, it is found that inappropriate control demands are produced if the system matrix becomes poorly conditioned near the limit. This results in optimisation failure. In order to understand the mechanism of this failure, controllability of linear timevarying system was analysed and its properties were discussed in detail. First, the calculation methods of the controllability gramian matrix are investigated and some practical limitations are found. The gramian matrix is then used to define an open loop control sequence. It is found that the damping of the system has a significant influence on the control strategy. Subsequently, "the moving controllability window of a fixed time period" is found to provide the most relevant information of changing dynamics through the time. The study showed that the failure of the optimisation in the vicinity of the friction limit was indeed due to lack of controllability and the optimisation method itself was functioning correctly. The vehicle path optimisation problem is then extended to include longitudinal dynamics, enabling simulation of more general manoeuvres. The single corner simulation showed that the optimisation converges to an "out-in-out" path, with iterative solution improving continuously in a first order manner. Simulations with various controller settings showed that the strategy is reasonably robust provided that the changes in parameter settings are kept within a reasonable magnitude. It is also confirmed that the optimisation is able to drive a vehicle close to the limit under different types of operations required, i.e. braking, cornering and acceleration. The study was then performed with slightly more complex road geometry in order to investigate if the· optimisation is capable of prioritising certain· part of the manoeuvre in order to achieve better overall result. Unfortunately, this problem could not be solved successfully. The optimisation concentrated on the latter part of the manoeuvre as it had higher sensitivity to the final cost. This resulted in clearly sub-optimal overall performance. Finally, relatively simple study is conducted to investigate the correlation between various vehicle settings and optimisation results. Using the path optimisation problem formulation, iris found that the more oversteer vehicles are able to achieve better· result with more margin left in rear tyre force capacity. The handling objective functions used for the 4 WS controller is also calculated for the resultant trajectories. It is found that the neutral steer cost had a strong correlation, whereas the linearity cost showed no noticeable correlation. The controllability analysis was applied on the various vehicle settings using step steer simulation. It showed that more understeering vehicle retains higher controllability throughout the dynamics range. It is also found that higher inertia gives better controllability near the limit, however, it gives less controllability at more moderate operating conditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Vehicle dynamics ; Limit handling ; Controllability ; Optimisation ; Optimal control