Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Transportation Seminar and Cookie Hour: Big Rigs Gone Automatic

This week's Transportation Seminar features ITS Berkeley alum, Dr. Jacob Tsao, who now teaches at Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering . He'll discuss current research in automated trailer steering. Triple trailer trucks, such as the one shown above, now operate in 20 states in the U.S. Problems with safety and inefficiency due to improper tracking can be reduced or eliminated with automated trailer steering. Improving Safety of Large-Truck Operations with Automated Trailer Steering For Fuel Efficiency,Emission Reduction and Productivity examines the fuel efficiency and sustainability of truck automation.

Energy and environmental concerns have led to much attention on fuel efficiency and sustainable development. A class of large trucks called “longer combination vehicles” (LCVs) currently operates on designated highways in 20 states of the US. Although they provide high fuel efficiency and productivity, they also pose safety and infrastructure hazards. A major source of such hazards is off-tracking – the phenomenon that the rear wheels of a truck do not follow the track of the front wheels. A major category of LCVs is the Triple, consisting of a tractor and three 28-foot trailers, and some Triples also suffer from continuous sideway sway while cruising on the highway. We propose the concept of automated trailer steering to overcome these problems. Vehicle-dynamics models and steering algorithms have been developed. Computer simulation suggests that off-tracking can be virtually eliminated; it also provides a clue for the reason of the continuous sway of some Triples. Systems issues about expanding current LCV operations will be discussed as well as a new mode of freight transportation enabled by automated trailer steering – Short Trailer Combination Vehicles (STCVs).

The Transportation Seminar will be in 240 Bechtel from 4:00-5:00 PM. Cookie Hour precedes the seminar in the ITS Library, 412 McLaughlin Hall, from 3:30-4:00 PM.

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