Automotive Engineering

Overview of the Automotive Engineering Laboratory

Overview of the Automotive Engineering Laboratory Research is performed mainly with regard to off-road vehicles operating in areas where no paved roads are available. Data about the forces acting on the road surface as well as the running gear (tires, crawlers, etc.) of off-road vehicles during operation are gathered through experiments, and the performance of off-road vehicles is elucidated through mechanical analysis and computer simulations. This information can be used for estimating the behavior of a vehicle in specific environments or the design and development of unmanned driving systems. Research was undertaken with regard to unit-type crawlers attachable to four-wheel vehicles. As the contact pressure decreases due to the increased contact surface, it is possible for such vehicles to run in slush, sand, snow or on any soft surface. Such crawlers feature the same handling feeling as ordinary vehicles combined with superior hill-climbing abilities.

Atrractive aspects of automotive engineering

Intriguing aspects of automotive engineering Automobiles sustain the affluence of our lives. The technology has already matured, and many sophisticated automobiles are running on the roads. However, as it is difficult to account for the mechanical aspects of the behavior of vehicles running on unpaved surfaces, it can be said that the research is still developing. Vehicles receive propulsion force (driving force) from the contact between the tires and the surface, and the resistance or rolling resistance, which obstructs the driving, increases when tires sink into the surface. In areas where the surface is soft, the resistance increases as the tires sink due to the inability of the surface to support the weight of the vehicle, and forward movement becomes impossible since the generated driving force is insufficient. What characteristics should planetary rovers possess if they are sent to the Moon, whose gravitational pull is only 1/6 of that on the Earth? It is known that the Moon surface is covered with loose regolith and displays low stiffness. This condition is disadvantageous for the propulsion of a rover. However, the weight of the rover on the Moon becomes 1/6 of that on the Earth. Does this mean that if the rover which can run on reproduced Moon surface on the Earth is sent to the Moon, it can be expected to run without problems? The answer to this question can be derived by performing experiments and mechanical analysis of the interaction forces which are generated from the contact between the wheels and the surface. Vehicle engineering reveals its appeal through the combination of experiments and mechanical analyses utilized for solving problems such as the distribution of driving torque to the wheels in such a way as to allow the vehicle to run on soft surfaces, analyzing driving methods which avoid the sinking of the wheels, and devising highly efficient driving devices.