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Design of a Feedback-Feedforward Steering Controller for Accurate Path Tracking and Stability at the Limits of Handling

This paper presents a feedback-feedforward steering controller that simultaneously maintains vehicle stability at the limits of handling while minimizing lateral path tracking deviation. The design begins by considering the performance of a baseline controller with a lookahead feedback scheme and a feedforward algorithm based on a nonlinear vehicle handling diagram. While this initial design exhibits desirable stability properties at the limits of handling, the steady-state path deviation increases significantly at highway speeds. Results from both linear and nonlinear analyses indicate that lateral path tracking deviations are minimised when vehicle sideslip is held tangent to the desired path at all times. Analytical results show that directly incorporating this sideslip tangency condition into the steering feedback dramatically improves lateral path tracking, but at the expense of poor closed-loop stability margins. However, incorporating the desired sideslip behaviour into the feedforward loop creates a robust steering controller capable of accurate path tracking and oversteer correction at the physical limits of tire friction. Experimental data collected from an Audi TTS test vehicle driving at the handling limits on a full length race circuit demonstrates the improved performance of the final controller design.

Publication Location

Vehicle System Dynamics

Nitin Kapania
J. Christian Gerdes
Publication Date
November, 2015