A Variable Dynamic Testbed Vehicle is presently being built for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It will have four-wheel steering, front and rear active antiroll bar systems, four adjustable dampers, and other active controls. Using these active devices, we can alter the vehicle’s understeer coefficient, front/rear load transfer distribution in high-g lateral maneuvers, and roll mode frequency and damping. This study investigates how these active systems could be controlled to alter the vehicle rollover tendencies. In particular, we study how an increased front antiroll bar stiffness, in conjunction with an increased front damper rate and out-of-phase rear steering could improve vehicle rollover resistance and enhance vehicle safety. Similar but “reverse” algorithms could be used to artificially degrade the rollover resistance of a vehicle. Rollover-related accidents could then be studied using such a vehicle. Results obtained could also provide guidelines for the safe operation of the variable dynamic vehicle in limit lateral maneuvers.

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