Development of a Novel Tilt-Controlled Narrow Commuter Vehicle


J Gohl, Rajesh Rajamani, Patrick Starr, Lee Alexander

May 2006

Report no. CTS 06-05

Traffic congestion is growing in urban areas of every size and is expected to double by 2010. A relatively unexplored but very promising solution to the problem of congestion is the adoption of narrow vehicles for commuter travel. Narrow vehicles like motorcycles can promote significantly improved highway utilization by the use of half-width lanes. However, in order for the general public to adopt this form of personal transportation, narrow vehicles should perceptibly provide the same ease of use and the same level of safety as passenger sedans. The research team in this project has developed a new concept vehicle that is relatively tall compared to its track width so as to provide a travel height that is comparable to that of other vehicles on the highway. To help the driver balance a relatively tall, narrow vehicle, it incorporates an electronic tilt control system that ensures tilt stability. The tilt control system balances the vehicle and improves ease of use, especially on curves where the vehicle must lean into the curve to ensure tilt stability. In this report the design and implementation of a control system that ensures the tilt stability of the prototype narrow vehicle is presented. The control system is based on the use of steer-by-wire technology and is called Steering Tilt Control (STC). The report includes significant details on the design of the prototype narrow vehicle constructed by the research team, on dynamic modeling for narrow tilting vehicles and also includes experimental results on the performance of the control system on the prototype narrow vehicle.

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