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UGV with a distributed electric driveline: Controlling for maximum slip energy efficiency on stochastic terrain

Mostafa A. Salama, Vladimir V. Vantsevich, Thomas R. Way, David J. Gorsich]

Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 79, October 2018, Pages 41-57, ISSN 0022-4898,

Energy saving has been a prominent concern of ground vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturers and research agencies for decades. The search for technological advances that can increase energy efficiency of vehicles has been a relentless quest. The framework of research on energy efficiency improvements has been considerably extended after the introduction of fully electric vehicles with electric motors that individually drive each wheel, i.e., In-Wheel Motors (IWM). Although incoming IWM vehicles can significantly decrease driveline power losses and, thus, improve vehicle energy efficiency compared to conventional mechanical driveline systems, one technical problem related to the vehicle-tire-terrain interaction needs to be addressed in fully electric terrain vehicles. These vehicles are still lacking strategies to manage power distribution between the drive wheels, which are not connected by a driveline system anymore, with the purpose to minimize slip power losses at all tires and maximize vehicle slip energy efficiency. Inappropriate power delivered to each of the wheels, which run in different stochastic terrain conditions, can deteriorate slip energy efficiency of a vehicle with four individually driven wheels. The research work presented in this article addresses the problem of wheel power distribution for an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) with four IWMs.

Keywords: In-Wheel Motor UGV; Optimal wheel power distribution; Stochastic terrain condition; Slip energy efficiency; Inverse dynamics control