Pump Displacement Control in Steering On-Highway Commercial Vehicles

2019-01-10T14:42:45Z (GMT) by Amine Nhila
Due to recent advances in sensor technology and the exponential increase in computation power of electronic control units (ECUs) along with their increasing affordability, active safety and vehicle automation have become major trends in the commercial vehicle industry. New regulations for increased safety are also a major driver behind the industry's increased interest in that topic. As a result, being a crucial part of vehicle automation, steering systems had to be adapted to enable Active Steering. Consequently, commercial vehicle steering designers introduced the concept of torque and angle overlay using an electric motor in series with the conventional hydraulic steering system. However, despite the fact that these systems are becoming more prevalent in the market, they still suffer from inefficiencies intrinsic to the conventional hydraulic steering system still being used. These inefficiencies are a result of
flow metering losses due to the use of control valves to regulate the pump flow output, as well as inside the steering gear with the use control valves to build assistance pressure.

In this research project, we investigate the potential use of the proven pump Displacement Control (DC) technology in steering on-highway commercial vehicles. DC pumps have been shown to signi cantly improve system efficiency as they allow the removal of control valves typically used to regulate
ow [1]. Instead, the displacement of the pump can be directly controlled to vary the pump's flow rate and direction,
and thus eliminating throttling losses. The DC technology has been successfully used in a steer-by-wire con guration for an articulated frame steering vehicle and has been shown to signi cantly improve efficiency and productivity, as well as result in a reduction in fuel consumption [2].

In this work, we propose a steer-by-wire system, using DC pump technology, for on-highway commercial vehicles, and present the di erent possible con gurations in which it can be implemented. Moreover, the bene ts and drawbacks of the steer-by-wire system are researched and identi ed. Subsequently, the system is designed and validated in simulation, on laboratory test setup, as well as on a test vehicle to prove its feasibility.

Chief among the drawbacks of the steer-by-wire system is potential failures that can lead to the complete loss of the steering function of the vehicle. As a result, different possible fail-safe mechanisms are researched from which the most suitable ones are proposed to allow the steer-by-wire system to fail safely. Moreover, two of the proposed fail-safe mechanism are implemented onto the test vehicle to prove and validate their feasibility.

Furthermore, an alternative way of using displacement controlled pumps for active steering is be proposed. For this concept, we investigate the possibility of actively controlling the driver's steering effort by varying the pump displacement while maintaining the mechanical link between the steering wheel and the road wheels. If successful, this method will allow for a more efficient way of providing steering assistance as it does away with the conventional control valves used to build pressure and regulate pump flow, and thus eliminating throttling losses. This method has also the advantage of having an intrinsic fail-safe mechanism with manual steering being always possible should the hydraulic or electric systems fail.