How many times do the headlines include news of lorries rolling over and discharging their contents on to
major highways causing traffic chaos? In the United States where records are more complete the number of big
trucks rolling over is around 15,000 per year. Official statistics in the UK are hard to come by, but 600 per
year is a conservative estimate. Researchers in the Cambridge Vehicle Dynamics Consortium (CVDC), headed by Dr
David Cebon are developing a system of active control to prevent this occurring.
"We have been studying the dynamics of heavy vehicles for some time and have developed advanced suspension
concepts which balance the basic trade-off between roll and ride performance," explains David Cebon. "We have
found that by controlling movement of the suspension with active anti-roll bars we can reduce the likelihood
of a truck rolling over, and can also reduce the dynamic loads applied to the road surface and the road
damage that results."
An entire 5-axle
articulated lorry, with a variety of specially-built components has been donated by Consortium members.
Volvo has given the University a tractor unit and Shell has provided a tanker semi-trailer. Tinsley Bridge has manufactured a set of special anti-roll bars;
Meritor HVS has donated three independent air suspensions for the
trailer, Dunlop has provided tyres and Koni has developed and manufactured a set of ten special continuously-variable
shock absorbers - one for each wheel station. Fluid Power Design has
designed and manufactured the key hydraulic systems,and Mektronika
has built the micro-processor controllers.