On Stand Number 15008 at Testing Expo 2009 North America, Anthony Best Dynamics (ABD) is announcing an expansion of the company's leading range of steering robots with the launch of the new SR60 Torus model (patent pending), designed to decrease test set up time, aid vehicle operation and enhance the safety of vehicle handling tests.
The new SR60 Torus steering robot differs from conventional steering robots by combining a large diameter hollow centre with the ability to clamp the unit to an existing steering wheel, keeping the steering wheel airbag in place. This design avoids the need to remove the original steering wheel or disable the steering wheel air bag, reducing set up time. Safety is increased as the airbag can now safely deploy through the centre of the wheel without the robot motor becoming detached from the steering wheel. The Torus design also removes the problem of sensor deactivation that occurs when the standard steering wheel is removed from some vehicles and allows the driver to have access to the steering wheel mounted controls.
The SR60 Torus motor uses a direct drive continuous rotation brushless motor with low friction bearing and the system requires no gears or clutches. The vehicle can be driven manually between tests using the integrated steering rim.
The performance envelope of the motor is similar to ABD's conventional SR60 motor and is designed to exceed the specification requirements of NHTSA's fishhook and FMVSS126 tests that require a maximum of 60Nm@1200deg/s. The Torus motor is compatible with ABD's Omni and Mono in-vehicle controllers and can be used in conjunction with ABD's brake, accelerator, clutch and gear change robots.
The new SR60 Torus model and the existing SR60 model both complement the SR30 steering robot, the smallest other model in the range which is designed to match the performance of a typical human driver. The peak torques of the SR60 Torus and SR60 robots are approximately twice that of the SR30 and are therefore ideal for use in heavy-duty applications that may require high speed and torque, such as the NHTSA rollover and stability control tests. In addition to these three models, ABD can offer steering robots with torque outputs up to 150 Nm that can be engineered to suit different customer requirements.
Like all ABD steering robots, the SR60 Torus is designed to apply accurate and repeatable inputs to a vehicle's steering system for testing its transient handling behaviour on the test track or for evaluating the steering system itself. A wide range of test profiles can be played out to the vehicle's steering system with very precise control, making direct comparisons between vehicles easy. A database is used to store the test definitions and specific vehicle information for each vehicle tested and to keep track of stored results.
The software enables the driver to define and run new tests quickly and easily by choosing from a library of standard tests designed to meet NHTSA and ISO 7401 requirements. These include single sine, sine sweep, step and ramp inputs. Test profiles can be recorded from direct driver input using a learn mode, or played out from data stored in an ASCII file. The robot can also follow an external analogue voltage input.
The SR60 Torus steering robot can also be used with ABD's Path Following option, which uses a GPS-corrected motion pack to give real-time feedback on vehicle position and heading, and hence enables the robot to control the vehicle to follow a pre-defined path.
Anthony Best Dynamics have supplied over 170 robot systems since 1988 to customers throughout the world, for use in passenger cars, SUVs, trucks and buses. They ensure that accurate and repeatable inputs are generated, overcoming a problem inherent in traditional manual testing methods, making it easy to obtain meaningful comparisons between different vehicles and vehicle configurations.