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How does the car behave if we change the tyre data?

Students put into practice at the AIC and the Olaberria circuit theoretical concepts of the subject of Vehicles.

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The students and the teachers Andoni Medina and Guillermo Bistué after the practice on the circuit. PHOTO: Communication Service
10/04/19 12:46 Communication Service

Andoni Medina, professor at subject Vehicles, wanted the students to experience firsthand how a vehicle behaves if tire parameters are changed. Organized in two groups, the students felt the consequences of oversteer and understeer in the field: on the Olaberria circuit and on the AIC-Automotive Intelligence Center simulator, respectively. As Professor Medina explains, oversteer occurs when the drift angle (the angle formed by the wheel with its real speed vector) of the rear wheels is greater than the front wheels, and understeer occurs when the opposite is true (drift angle greater on the front axle than on the rear). Put into practice, this means that the car's yaw is higher than the one marked on the steering wheel when it oversteers, and lower when it understeers. Both phenomena are dangerous when they occur in excess, especially oversteer since it leads to a very possible loss of control of the vehicle and consequently to an accident.

The final goal of both practices, says Medina, "is that the students are able to calculate and predict how the car will behave based on the tire data.

Both exercises, which were well received by the university students, are part of an initiative of the AIC training unit whose goal is to bring companies and universities closer together. "One of the challenges of the AIC, Open University, is for there to be a real collaboration between organizations and universities. In other words, companies propose a series of challenges and projects that are applicable to their day-to-day work and that they will implement, so that students can carry them out, in this case, in a subject", explained Gonzalo Garrido, head of Communication at AIC.


The students arrived at the circuit and saw that the rear tires were different. While they had previously had to make a calculation and predict what might happen, they found on the spot that "the car changed character due to the plastic rear tires, it spun much more than it should (spinning was sometimes inevitable) and the impact on controllability was clear, very academic in fact, and complements perfectly with the theory taught at class," continues Medina.

AIC, Automotive Intelligence Center

On the other hand, in the AIC and using the simulator, "the students had to drive virtually on a 120-metre radius circle, gradually accelerate, and check that the faster the car went, the more they had to turn the steering wheel to try to make the car follow the trajectory marked by the 120-metre circle", says Medina. In other words, the opposite effect to oversteer.

 "In addition, since the simulator records all the data after the simulation, each student, after going through it, was able to analyze each file and draw the appropriate conclusions regarding their driving," adds the professor.

The result was "very good because they were able to study the behavior of the car by means of objective parameters such as, for example, wheel spin, steering wheel rotation or lateral acceleration when cornering. This is what a track engineer or Vehicle Dynamics Performance Engineer does to a large extent, monitoring all these variables and thus explaining the vehicle's dynamics", concludes Medina.

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