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You are on page 1of 11

ller

Postdoc at the Department of Mechanical

Engineering

University of California, Berkeley, California

94720

Since June 1st 2001: BMW AG, 80788 Munchen

e-mail: steffen.mc.mueller@bmw.de

Michael Uchanski

Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of California, Berkeley, California

94720

e-mail: mikeu@vehicle.me.berkeley.edu

Karl Hedrick

Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of California, Berkeley, California

94720

Estimation of the Maximum

Tire-Road Friction Coefficient

We develop and test a slip-based method to estimate the maximum available tire-road

friction during braking. The method is based on the hypothesis that the low-slip, low-

parts of the slip curve used during normal driving can indicate the maximum tire-road

friction coefcient,

max

. We nd support for this hypothesis in the literature and through

experiments. The friction estimation algorithm uses data from short braking maneuvers

with peak accelerations of 3.9 m/s

2

to classify the road surface as either dry

max

1 or

lubricated

max

0.6. Signicant measurement noise makes it difcult to detect the

subtle effect being measured, leading to a misclassication rate of 20%.

DOI: 10.1115/1.1636773

1 Introduction

By tire/road friction estimation we mean that we would like

to predict how easily a vehicle will skid on a road without actually

making the vehicle skid.

One way to quantify how easily a vehicle will skid is with the

maximum coefcient of friction,

max

. For a given wheel, the

normalized traction force, , is:

F

x

2

F

y

2

N

z

, (1)

where F

x

, F

y

, and N

z

are the longitudinal, side, and normal

forces acting on the tire. For this wheel,

max

is the maximum

achievable value of .

In this paper, we consider only longitudinal motion, so the side

force F

y

can be neglected. This gives:

F

x

N

z

(2)

and

max

maxF

x

/N

z

. For the remainder of this paper when we

use the symbols and

max

, we mean these longitudinal-only

quantities.

When a vehicle of mass m has the same

max

at all four of its

tires, the largest longitudinal acceleration u

x

max

it can achieve ne-

glecting grade and wind is:

u

x

max

max

F

x

11

F

x

12

F

x

21

F

x

22

m

max

g, (3)

where F

x

i j

is the longitudinal force at the i j th wheel and g is the

gravitational constant. Thus, an estimate of

max

gives us an upper

bound on the acceleration, in gs, that a vehicle can achieve.

1.1 Applications for a

max

Estimator. A

max

estimator is

useful primarily because it can inform drivers machines or

people of dangerous conditions so that they can change their

driving style to prevent emergency situations.

To demonstrate how a

max

estimator might be useful for a

machine driver, consider designing an intelligent cruise control

system or part of an automated highway according to the follow-

ing specication: Using a radar with a range of 100m, the system

must be able to detect stationary objects in the roadway and stop

in time to avoid colliding with them. To meet the specication,

the driving speed must be adjusted depending on the operating

range of the radar and the road condition. If we have no

max

estimator, we need to enforce a conservative driving speed to

accommodate the worst case when

max

is about 0.2 icy road, or

else use a radar with a larger range.

A

max

estimator could also help human drivers because there

are surprisingly few ways for them to estimate

max

. Checking if

the road is snowy or icy or wet is often effective, but occasionally

roads that look similar have signicantly different values of

max

.

For example, wet pavement after the rst rain in weeks looks

similar to wet pavement that has been washed clean by several

days of rain, despite their different coefcients of friction 1.

1.2 State of the Art. This paper evaluates the feasibility of

a slip-based

max

estimator that works during braking. Figure 1

shows where this contribution ts into the larger research area of

tire-road friction estimation, and it provides a framework within

which we examine recent

max

estimation results in the literature.

As the top branch of Fig. 1 shows, tire-road friction estimation

research can roughly be divided into cause-based approaches

and effect-based approaches. Cause-based strategies try to

measure factors that lead to changes in friction and then attempt to

predict what

max

will be based on past experience or friction

models. Effect-based approaches, on the other hand, measure

the effects that friction and especially reduced friction has on the

vehicle or tires during driving. They then attempt to extrapolate

what the limit friction will be based on this data.

We rst review some results of cause-based

max

estimation

research. Then we examine effect-based research, focusing special

attention on the category of slip-based methods.

1.2.1 Cause-Based

max

Prediction. Numerous parameters

cause

max

to be a certain value. In 2, Bachmann classies

them as vehicle parameters like speed, camber angle, and wheel

load; tire parameters like material, tire type, tread depth, and in-

ation pressure; road lubricant parameters like type water, snow,

ice, oil, depth, and temperature; and road parameters like road

type, micro-geometry, macro-geometry, and drainage capacity. A

cause-based

max

predictor must be able to measure the most

signicant friction parameters and then produce an estimate of

max

from a database with information about the effects of these

parameters on friction.

Many of the parameters affecting

max

are easily determined

for example, speed, tire type, approximate wheel load, and cam-

ber. However, measuring two of the parameters that signicantly

Contributed by the Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control Division of THE

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS for publication in the ASME

JOURNAL OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS, MEASUREMENT, AND CONTROL. Manuscript

received by the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division Jan. 16, 2002; nal

revision June 30, 2003. Associate Editor: Alleyne.

Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control DECEMBER 2003, Vol. 125 607

Copyright 2003 by ASME

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affect frictionlubricant and road typerequires special sensors.

This need for extra sensors is one of the main disadvantages of

cause-based friction estimation approaches.

As the Lubricants branch of Fig. 1 shows, several research-

ers have built special lubricant sensors for friction estimation. The

optical sensors described in 3 and 4 can detect water lms and

other lubricants by examining how the road scatters and absorbs

light directed at it. Optical sensors have also been constructed to

detect the road surface roughness characteristics 4.

Once the parameters affecting friction are known, they must be

passed into a friction model to obtain a

max

prediction. Due to

the complexity of developping a purely physical model for this

purpose, several researchers have suggested using neural networks

and other learning algorithms. In 3, for example, the

max

pre-

diction software uses data interpolation, associative storage, and

system identication techniques. The disadvantage of this type of

nonphysical model is that it loses accuracy when conditions devi-

ate from the conditions under which it was trained.

Nevertheless, experimental results have shown that cause-based

max

estimators can often deliver high accuracy. For example in

3, a cause-based method using data from a wetness sensor and a

surface roughness sensor gives a

max

estimate that is within 0.1

of the real value of

max

in 92% of experiments. Since the key

sensors were optical, these results were obtained with zero friction

demand. That is, the driver did not need to achieve high levels of

to get a useful estimate of

max

.

As we mentioned above, though, these advantages of good ac-

curacy and zero friction demand come with three main disadvan-

tages: First, cause-based systems often require extra sensors. Sec-

ond, they may need extensive training to work properly. Third,

they may have difculties accurately predicting friction under ex-

ceptional conditions for which they have neither sensors nor train-

ing.

1.2.2 Effect-Based

max

Prediction. As Fig. 1 shows, re-

searchers have pursued at least three types of effect-based

max

estimators: acoustic approaches, tire-tread deformation ap-

proaches, and slip-based approaches. We briey review the acous-

tic and tire-tread approaches rst. Then we provide a more de-

tailed review of slip-based approaches, since the new work of this

paper is in this area.

In an acoustic approach, a microphone is mounted to listen

to the tire, and the sound that the tire makes is used to infer

something about

max

. According to 3 and 4, the tire noise

correlates with the friction demand and deformation of the tire

tread, so it is an effect of tire-road friction. At the same time,

though, these authors show that the noise is also correlated with

parameters that affect friction such as road type, presence of wa-

ter, and speed. Thus, tire noise indicates something about both the

causes and the effects of tire-road friction, so it could have just as

easily been classied as a cause-based approach. Regardless of

how one classies this approach, the complex nature of tire noise

makes it difcult to use for predicting

max

3.

The tire-tread deformation approach uses sensors embedded

into the tire tread to measure the x, y, and z deformations of the

tread as a function of its position in the road-tire contact patch.

These deformations are the direct result of x, y, and z force trans-

mission in the contact patch and therefore contain information

about the total longitudinal, lateral, and normal forces as well as

their geometric distributions in the contact patch. This is useful for

estimating

max

because individual tire tread elements often ex-

ceed the holding power of the road long before the tire as a whole

exceeds

max

and starts sliding. Thus, we see the effects of the

max

limit on the tire before we see its effect on vehicle perfor-

mance.

References 3, 5, 6, and 4 describe a tire-tread deforma-

tion sensor and give experimental results for a

max

estimator that

uses tread deformation. The sensor consists of a magnet vulca-

nized into the tread of a kevlar-belted tire to avoid signal distor-

tion from a steel belt and a detector xed to the inner surface of

the tire. Experiments using this apparatus show that even with

zero friction demand it is possible to detect very low

max

sur-

faces from tire-tread deformation data. Furthermore, the system

does not need to know why the road is slippery to work since it

only measures the effects of low

max

. Thus, it is immune to

many of the problems of cause-based

max

identiers. While very

promising, this approach has the disadvantage that it requires a

sophisticated instrumented tire with a self-powered, wireless data

link to the vehicle. Although such links have been successfully

tested 7, they still appear to be several years in the future on

production vehicles.

It is primarily the desire to avoid this type of new instrumenta-

tion that makes the third effect-based approachthe slip-based

approachso attractive. Taken together, results from the fairly

small number of efforts to use slip to classify roads indicate that it

may be possible to use tire slip to classify roads into at least two

or three friction levels without having to use dedicated sensors.

Most of the algorithms in the literature make use of little more

Fig. 1 A sampling of tire-road friction estimation research. Complete reference information for these papers in bibliography.

608 Vol. 125, DECEMBER 2003 Transactions of the ASME

Downloaded 09 Jul 2007 to 128.173.217.219. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright, see http://www.asme.org/terms/Terms_Use.cfm

than standard ABS wheel speed sensors, and possibly some of the

sensors found on vehicles equipped with Vehicle Dynamics Con-

trol systems.

As the slip-based branch of Fig. 1 shows, researchers have

worked to develop slip-based

max

estimators using data from

traction, braking, and steering maneuvers. Here, we focus mostly

on the traction and braking cases since they relate most closely to

the new work presented later in the paper.

Tire slip occurs whenever pneumatic tires transmit forces,

and the idea of slip-based

max

estimation is to use the measured

tire force vs. slip relationship to identify the friction level. For

traction or braking, the slip, s, of a wheel is the scaled difference

between the longitudinal translational speed of that wheel, v, and

the rotational speed of the wheel. We use the denition:

s

rv

max r, v

(4)

where v means the component of the velocity of the wheel along

the longitudinal axis of the tire; is the spin velocity of the wheel

measured at the wheel center; r is the effective rolling radius of

the tire and is dened as rv/

0

, where

0

is the spin velocity

that the wheel would have if it were rolling freely, but under

identical conditions to those under which is measured.

A braking wheel has a smaller rotational speed than its transla-

tional speed, so for braking this equation has negative numerator.

The max in the denominator forces this negative velocity differ-

ence to be normalized by v, resulting in s1 if the braking

wheel locks. On the other hand, an accelerating wheel has a posi-

tive numerator, and the denominator becomes r so that s1 if

the vehicle stands still while the wheels spin.

The friction coefcient, , at a tire is related to the amount of

slip at that tire. The most well-known model for this relationship

is the so-called Magic Formula 8 which we plot in Fig. 2 for

traction and braking on a variety of road surfaces. Figure 2 shows

that is an increasing function of s until a critical slip value,

where reaches

max

and then decreases.

The idea of longitudinal slip-based

max

estimation is to use

data collected from low-s, low- maneuversthe part of the slip

curve near the originto predict the maximum of the slip

curve. However, until recently, few researchers have attempted

such a slip-based approach. This is probably for two reasons.

First, the slip levels encountered during normal driving are typi-

cally quite small and are therefore difcult to measure in a prac-

tical setting. Second, such an approach seems to be at odds with

accepted notions about tires. According to accepted tire theory, the

shape of the low-slip, low- part of the slip curve is determined

by the tire carcass stiffness and not by the road condition. Thus,

slip-based road condition estimationat least using normal driv-

ing datashould not be possible. We explore this apparent con-

tradiction later on in this paper; for now, we simply review results

and methods used for slip-based road condition estimation without

trying to explain why these results came about.

The left branch of the slip-based part of Fig. 1 shows the

subset of slip-based road condition estimation papers that concen-

trate on slip data gathered during traction.

The earliest work listed is 9 and 10 by Dieckmann. It fea-

tures three interesting results. First, a measurement system is de-

scribed which measures slip with an accuracy of 0.01% on a mov-

ing vehicle during traction using only standard ABS sensors. The

rear wheels, which are not connected to the engine serve as a

velocity reference, and the front wheels, which are in traction,

serve as the slipping wheels. The system calculates slip by using

the slightly different times that the front wheels slipping and rear

wheels non-slipping take to rotate some integer number of revo-

lutions. Second, the measurement system is used to measure slip

during normal driving on a variety of road surfaces and with a

variety of different tires, and it is found that surfaces with a lower

max

tend to require more slip to generate the same tire force that

is generated with less slip on higher friction surfaces. Finally, a

tire/road simulation model is proposed to investigate the experi-

mental observations.

In 11, Gustafsson uses a Kalman Filter to eliminate a calibra-

tion step that the Dieckmann work required. The method works in

traction on a front wheel drive vehicle, with the rear wheels serv-

ing as velocity references, and front wheels serving as the slipping

wheels. Slip is calculated directly from the wheel speeds, and is

calculated from an engine map and a normal force shift model.

The Kalman lter recursively calculates the offset and slope of a

linear t to vs. slip data obtained from traction maneuvers with

typically less than 0.2. The offset of the linear t to the vs.

slip data corresponds to tire radius differences between front and

rear wheels, and the estimated slope is found to correlate with the

road friction. The gains of the Kalman Filter govern the sensitivity

of the slope and offset to new data, so a change detection algo-

rithm runs in parallel with the Kalman lter and adjusts these

gains so it will produce parameter estimates with low variance

when the road surface appears to be unchanged and parameter

estimates with low convergence time when the road surface ap-

pears to be changing. Extensive testing on icy, snowy, wet, dry,

and gravel road surfaces with four different types of tires shows

that this estimated slope, along with other indicators, allows for

classication of roads as either gravel, high friction, slip-

pery, or very slippery. Thus, these results, along with those of

Dieckmann, indicate that it may be possible to create a slip-based

road friction estimator during traction.

Hwang and Song 12, and Yi, Hedrick, and Lee 13 provide

still more experimental evidence that a slip-based

max

estimator

could work for normal traction. Hwang and Song use a friction

estimation strategy during traction that is very similar to Gustafs-

sons, and nd that the slope of a linear t to versus slip data is

larger for a dry asphalt road (

max

1) than it is for an articial

ABS test surface with

max

0.3. Yi, Hedrick, and Lee also nd

that the slope of vs. slip data might be usable to detect road

friction. They nd a difference between the slopes of slip curves

on wet and dry concrete surfaces.

In addition to the friction estimation work above, which works

during normal traction, Germann, Wurtenberger, and Dai 14

used high friction demand maneuvers to estimate coefcients of a

polynomial approximation to vs. slip data. Experimental results

show that the polynomial parameter representing the slope of the

slip curve falls when the test car drives on a wet road.

As the Braking part of the Slip-based branch of Fig. 1

shows, less work has been done on slip-based

max

estimators that

work during braking. There are three main reasons for this: The

rst reason is that the velocity term, v is harder to obtain during

braking since all four wheels are slipping. The second reason is

Fig. 2 Normalized longitudinal force, , versus longitudinal

slip, computed using Magic Formula

Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control DECEMBER 2003, Vol. 125 609

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that tire force estimates are harder to obtain during braking than

during driving, and the third reason is that most driving is done

with the engine and only occasional use of the brakes. Hard brak-

ing is particularly rare.

Considering braking information for tire-road friction estima-

tion can be advantageous for two reasons. First, a friction estima-

tion system that uses information during acceleration and braking

will have greater availability than one that uses only acceleration

information. Second, the amount of traction force during a brak-

ing maneuver is usually higher than during acceleration, providing

more friction demand for a

max

estimator. Those rare braking

maneuvers that use a large percentage of the maximum available

friction are extremely useful to a friction estimation system.

Despite the difculties associated with slip-based friction esti-

mators that work during braking, some work has been done in this

area. In 15, Kiencke and Dai take advantage of the high friction

demand during hard braking to estimate parameters of a tire

model that is linear in its parameters. From that,

max

is obtained.

In 16, Ray takes advantage of moderate friction demand during

braking and steering to obtain good

max

estimation. Slip and

estimates come from an extended Kalman-Bucy Filter state esti-

mator that uses measurements of yaw rate, roll rate, wheel speeds,

and x and y acceleration to correct its estimates. A Bayesian hy-

pothesis selector then processes the and slip estimates to arrive

at an estimate of

max

. Tests during braking on dry asphalt are

encouragingespecially when a large percentage of the available

friction is used friction demand of 0.5 on a surface with

max

0.88)but unfortunately, data from different road surfaces is

not available for comparison. This work of Ray overlaps with the

lateral part of the slip-based road force estimation branch of

Fig. 1. In this area, Pasterkamp and Pacejka have used lateral

force vs. slip angle data and a neural network to detect road fric-

tion during maneuvers with moderate to large lateral excitation.

The fact that slip-based road friction estimation requires few

sensors and has shown a handful of successes in the literature

does not mean that it is an approach without problems. As we

already noted, the approach seems to contradict accepted notions

about tires. In addition, it has problems with robustness and cali-

bration. The parameters that researchers have used to classify road

surfaces typically slope of vs. slip data are quite sensitive to

tire type, ination pressure, tire wear and possibly vehicle con-

guration. Finally, the most successful results in the area those

using the smallest friction demand to achieve the best

max

reso-

lution have come only from tests in straight-line traction.

2 Exploring the Problem

Before attempting to identify

max

with a realistic sensor-set,

we rst explore the

max

identication problem using a nonprac-

tical sensor set which includes a strain-based brake torque sensor

17 for estimating road force.

Later in the paper Sec. 4 we develop an estimator to replace

the torque sensor. However, using the brake torque sensor to ex-

plore the problem has two benets. First, we decouple the

estimator/observer design from the basic physics of the problem.

Second, we generate a set of truth results that we will later use

to verify our traction force estimator and

max

identication

algorithm.

2.1 Raw versus Slip Data. The left side of Fig. 3 shows

measured vs. slip data for 28 braking maneuvers, 18 of which

are on dry pavement and 10 of which are on wet and soapy pave-

ment we used a mixture of water and soap to obtain slip curves

with clearly different

max

values.

For this graph, and the rest of the graphs until Sec. 4, we use

the following sensors and procedures: The vehicle, which is in

neutral to eliminate engine inuences, follows a straight-line cre-

scendo braking maneuver with the brake pressure gradually in-

creasing over a two to three seconds until the wheels lock. Only

the front wheels brake; the rear wheels roll freely for velocity

reference. Differential braking is achieved by actuating the valves

of the vehicles ABS unit. Both the velocity from the rear wheels

and the braking wheel speed from the free-rolling wheels come

from standard 50-tooth ABS wheel speed sensors. Longitudinal

road force is calculated directly from the strain-gage-based brake

torque sensor mentioned above. Normal force, which is used for

the vertical axis, is calculated from the four-state suspension

model described in Sec. 4.

If we are to deduce

max

from slip- data collected from nor-

mal driving, we need to be able to detect a difference between the

soapy slip curves and the dry slip curves at small values of . The

right side of Fig. 3 implies that, on average, such a difference does

exist.

This gure uses the data from the left side of Fig. 3 to generate

two composite slip curves, one for a dry road surface and one for

a soapy road surface. It divides the axis into several bins and

generates one data point per bin by averaging all of the slip values

that fall in that bin. At 0.2, the two composite slip curves

begin to deviate from one another, indicating that it may be pos-

Fig. 3 Left: Measured versus slip data for 18 separate braking maneuvers on dry road and 10 separate braking

maneuvers on wet and soapy road. Right: Same raw data as left graph, but the axis is divided into bins and one

data point per bin is generated for each surface by averaging all of the slip values in that bin.

610 Vol. 125, DECEMBER 2003 Transactions of the ASME

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sible to use relatively low friction-demand data to distinguish be-

tween peak friction coefcients of approximately 0.7 for the soapy

road and 1.1 for the dry road.

However, a difculty that limits the usefulness of this observa-

tion is the amount of data that was necessary to create the com-

posite slip curves. Each curve incorporates data from 10 or more

braking maneuvers. Since drivers brake relatively infrequently,

this data could take several kilometers to accumulate, making the

friction inferences based on them obsolete.

The next two sections attempt to resolve this problem by using

data from the individual braking events lasting only two or three

seconds to infer

max

. Section 2.2 uses parameters from a non-

linear curve t to vs. slip data in order to infer

max

. Difcul-

ties encountered with the non-linear method motivate Sec. 2.3

where parameters from a linear t to vs. slip are used to infer

max

. Using this linear method allows us to distinguish soapy and

dry roads in most of the cases using a single braking event. How-

ever, the two surfaces only begin to be distinguishable when

reaches 0.4.

2.2 Nonlinear

max

Identication. An intuitive way to es-

timate the maximum friction coefcient is to collect data for the

longitudinal wheel slip s and the friction coefcient and then to

use this data to estimate the entire nonlinear slip curve. Determin-

ing

max

is then easy because it is the maximum or minimum, for

braking of this estimated curve.

We assume a slip-to- relationship that is amenable to least

squares estimation 15:

s s0

s

c

1

s

2

c

2

s1

(5)

s is the longitudinal wheel slip; c

1

and c

2

are shaping parameters

which are to be estimated; and (s0) is the slope of the slip

curve at zero slip, which we xed to a constant value. It can also

be estimated, but we obtained more stable results when we xed

(s0) to a constant value.

The light circles in Fig. 4 show measured longitudinal wheel

slips s and friction coefcients at different times during a seven

second braking incident on a road with

max

1. The solid line is

the approximating slip curve at each time, calculated using the

regression model of Eq. 5, and solving for the parameters c

1

and

c

2

in a least squares sense using all of the data available up until

that time. Note that the slip and friction coefcient are both

negative during braking so that

max

is achieved at the most nega-

tive value of the slip curve.

Figure 4 demonstrates a limitation that we encountered with

this nonlinear approach. The minimum of the estimated curve

consistently tends to be slightly more than the most negative fric-

tion coefcient value achieved. Only with relatively large friction

demands greater than 0.5 does the minimum of the estimated

curve give a good approximation to the actual

max

of about 1.

When friction demands are low to medium, the approach severely

underestimates

max

.

We investigated several other nonlinear tire-road friction mod-

els like the one of Eq. 5, but none of them worked well when we

used measured data. We therefore sought a different approach.

2.3 Linear

max

Identication. Using the nonlinear ap-

proach of the previous section,

max

could be obtained directly

from the nonlinear curve t. This is not possible using a linear

regression equation to t the data, so using a linear approach

introduces the new problem of correlating the slope of the linear

t to the maximum friction coefcient

max

. This is the central

problem of this section.

To get a linear t to vs. slip data, we write the linear regres-

sion equation so that slip s is a linear function of with slope

1/k), plus a constant, :

s

1

k

1

1/k

(6)

Equation 6, which Gustafsson proposes in 11, seems back-

wards since we normally think of as a function of slip. How-

ever, the analysis of 11 shows that it has two main advantages

over the more intuitive k(s). First, 6 allows us to sepa-

rately estimate the physically different parameters 1/k and while

the equation k(s) would force us to estimate the less

meaningful product k. Second, Eq. 6 avoids using the highly

noisy slip measurement in the regressor. This limits biases in the

parameter estimates due to regressor noise.

Given N pairs of slip and data, ((i), s(i)), i1, . . . , N, the

linear t to the data is the k and pair that minimizes the cumu-

lative squared estimation error:

Fig. 4 Measured versus slip data at several time instants

during a hard braking maneuver circles and their least

squares slip curves using tire model of Eq. 5 solid line.

max

taken from the tted slip curve tends to depend on the most

extreme value attained.

Fig. 5

max

and slope k of regression lines for slip curves

during braking. Dark stars come from dry road slip curves, and

light diamonds come from soapy road slip curves. Left: Data

points with ranging from 0 to 0.2 are used to calculate slope

of regression lines. Right: Data points with ranging between

0 and 0.4 are used to calculate regression line.

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i1

N

s i

1

k

i

2

(7)

The linear t can be calculated using all of the data at once with

well-known least squares formula, or recursively, using one new

data point at a time, via recursive least squares or a Kalman lter.

Typically, the recursive approaches are set up to weight old data

less heavily, so they usually minimize a different criterion.

Intuitively, a set of and slip measurements, ((i), s(i)), i

1, . . . , N, should tell us more about

max

if they include some

points with high values of . To express this when we report a

least squares estimate of k and we use the notation k

cut

and

cut

to denote the least squares estimates of k and obtained

from a set of measurements with max

i

(i)

cut

. We refer to

cut

as the friction demand for the remainder of the paper.

A high friction demand does not guarantee stable estimates of

the regression parameters 1/k and . For example, a cluster of

points very near 0.5, s0.01) could mean that k

0.5

is innity

and that

0.5

0.01 or that k

0.5

is 50 and that

0.5

0, depending on

exactly how they are situated. More precisely, the variance of

k

cut

is related to the variance of the measurements, so a large

variance in is needed for low variance estimates of the regres-

sion parameters. Borrowing from 11, where Gustafsson dis-

cusses this issue in detail, we refer to the variation in needed to

get stable parameter estimates as excitation.

Figure 5, which is based on the same 28 tests used in Fig. 3,

plots

max

versus k

0.2

in the left panel and

max

versus k

0.4

in the

right panel. Since the same 28 tests are plotted in each panel, the

max

values of the points in the two panels identical. Thus, the

differences in the two graphs arise from the amount of data used

to calculate the linear ts. The right panel uses more data from

each of the tests ranging from 0 to 0.4 for the calculation.

To simulate realtime implementation, the t lines were calculated

using Recursive Least Squares.

If the slope of the linear t to the versus slip data were a

strong indicator of

max

, then the points would occur in two

groupings along the horizontal axis with little overlap. If, on the

other hand, the slope were not useful as an indicator of

max

, then

the data points would have a vertical arrangement, so that a par-

ticular k value could indicate any

max

. This appears to be the

case in the left panel where the horizontal noise in k

0.2

obscures

any horizontal offset there might be between the points with

max

1 and

max

0.6. The large noise is due to the low friction

demand and associated low excitation level for this test.

In the right panel, on the other hand, a correlation is visible

between k

0.4

and

max

. Smaller values of k

0.4

indicate smaller

values of

max

. This is the same trend that was visible in the

composite slip curves of Fig. 3, except that this time it is revealed

using data from individual braking maneuvers instead an average

of 10 or more braking maneuvers. The penalty for using less data,

however, is a higher friction demand. The composite soapy and

dry slip curves of Fig. 3 began diverging at a friction demand of

0.2, or about 2 m/s

2

of acceleration. In contrast, the soapy and dry

point groupings of Fig. 5 begin to diverge at friction demands of

0.4, or accelerations of about 3.9 m/s

2

.

3 Relation to Tire Theory

Our correlation between road surface and the slope of a linear

t to vs. s data is one of a handful in the literature, as Table 1,

which summarizes similar results, shows. The correlation is typi-

cally pronounced when the slip measurement noise is small, the

difference in

max

is large, and the amount of data used is large.

The existence of this correlation, however, appears to be at odds

with the accepted notion that tire slip curves have a shape that

depends on the tire carcass stiffness at low slip, low values and

on

max

only at very high slip, high values. Before continuing

to use the correlation, we offer two possible explanations for it in

terms of tire theory.

Table 1 Work in the literature indicating that there may be a correlation between the low

friction demand part of slip curves and

max

Source Evidence of a correlation

Breuer, Eichhorn, and

Roth, 4

Graph of slip curves measured on various surfaces

shows that those measured on snow and ice have

lower initial slopes than those measured on high

max

surfaces like dry and wet pavement. Lack of

linear zone noted in text.

Dieckmann, 10 Very accurate integral method of measuring slip

produces small difference in slope of slip curve

when car driven from wet surface to snowy sur-

face. Constructs a simulation that gives similar

results.

Dieckmann, 9 Same measurement method as above. Amount of

slip required to overcome wind and rolling resis-

tance found to be different on icy, wet, and dry

roadways.

Gustafsson, 11 Linear ts to versus slip data acquired during throt-

tle maneuvers on snowy and icy surfaces tended to

have less steep slopes than those measured on dry

asphalt. Four different tires tested with many test

results for each tire. Friction demand 0.2.

Hwang and Song 12 Slope of slip curve on dry asphalt road found to

be signicantly steeper than slope of slip curve

measured on an ABS test road with

max

0.3.

Yi, Hedrick, and Lee 13 Slope of slip curves near zero slip for wet concrete

roads found to be steeper than for dry concrete

roads.

Fischlein, Gnadler, and

Unrau 19

Tire experiments using an internal drum tire test

bench showed a 15% smaller slope of the slip curve

and a 20% smaller

max

after a road surface with

high macro-roughness changed from dry to wet.

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3.1 The Secant Effect. A rst explanation that can ac-

count for the observed correlation without contradicting com-

monly accepted tire theory is what we will call the secant

effect.

We will demonstrate the secant effect using a simple version of

the so-called brush model 18. This model idealizes the tire as

a carcass which can deform under the axle load to give a contact

patch, but which is otherwise rigid. Attached to this carcass are

small rubber brush elements with shear stiffness k

b

units of

pressure/length. If we assume a normal pressure distribution

which is parabolic in rolling direction and constant in lateral di-

rection we can write for as a function of s

1

which is dened as

s

1

(rv)/(r) and corresponds to the denition used in

18:

3s

1

3

2

0

s

1

2

s

1

s

1

0

2

s

1

3

(8)

is dened as 4a

2

bk/3N

z

, where a and b are the length and

width of the rectangular contact area. Equation 8 shows that

(s

1

) has a road-friction-independent linear term and two nonlin-

ear terms which are dependent on

0

.

Figure 6 demonstrates how Eq. 8 can result in a correlation

between the straight line t to versus slip data and

max

. The

two slip curves with

max

0.6 and 1.0 were calculated using the

brush model. For both curves, the brush model parameters were

the same except for the coefcient of static friction, which was 0.6

and 1.0. Next, we restricted ourselves to slip data corresponding

to values of less than 0.4 and calculated the parameters 1/k and

for the regression equation in 4. Their regression lines have

slopes of 21.8 for

max

0.6) and 24.3 for

max

1) which is a

difference of more than 10%. We call this effect the secant ef-

fect because the slope of the regression line takes a value that is

somewhere between the slope of the tangent to the curve at 0

the longitudinal stiffness and the slope of the secant line drawn

between 0 and the curves intersection with the horizontal line

0.4. The secant effect becomes more pronounced as the fric-

tion demand used to calculate k increases and as the difference in

max

between the two surfaces to be distinguished increases. This

corresponds qualitatively with most of the observations listed in

Table 1 and our experimental results plotted in Fig. 5.

3.2 Inter-Layer Effects. Although the secant effect may be

sufcient to explain a k-

max

correlation using straight line t

methods, it may not be important enough to explain by itself some

of the other k-

max

relationships in Table 1. Some other effects

may be at work.

One candidate is a layering effect. It is possible that parts of the

tire rubber in the contact patch penetrate the ice or snow layer and

stick to the road surface, while other parts are only supported by

the ice or snow layer and do not touch the road surface. It is also

possible that hydrodynamic effects in the micro range, similar to

hydroplaning in the macro range, affect the contact between wheel

and road surface. Dependent on the micro and macro roughness of

the road surface the number of bindings between the tire and the

track surface is reduced by the interim water, ice or snow. An

increase in the depth of the interim layer reduces the effective

areas of contact. This results in an increase in the tangential stress

in the remaining bindings, which, in turn, causes an increasing

deection of the rubber particles. This is equivalent to a lower

longitudinal tire stiffness and thus to a smaller slope of the slip

curve 19. Attempting to model or describe these effects in detail

is beyond the scope of this paper, and we refer interested readers

to investigations in this area in 9, 10 or 19.

4

max

Identier for Braking

Regardless of what causes the k-

max

relationship in Sec.

2either the secant effect or some other effectwe will now

attempt to exploit it in a more realistic slip-based

max

estimator.

To do this, we rst eliminate the impractical brake torque sensor

so that we are able to estimate slip curves using only wheel speed

and vehicle speed data. Next, in Sec. 4.2, we compare these esti-

mated slip curves to the truth slip curves generated earlier using

the torque sensor. Finally, we revisit the k-

max

correlation of Sec.

2, this time using the k values from the estimated slip curves to

attempt to identify

max

. A discussion of the estimators limita-

tions leads us naturally into the conclusions.

All results in this section were generated from maneuvers

where only the left front wheel braked. This differential braking

offered several advantages over four wheel braking for our experi-

mental car. First, our brake torque sensor was mounted only on

the left front wheel, so by isolating this wheel, we could be as-

sured that the sensor reading reected the only longitudinal tire

force on the car. This allowed us to compare accelerometer and

brake torque sensor readings without making assumptions about

brake force distribution between the four wheels. Second, the

smaller total longitudinal force on the vehicle resulted in less rear-

to-front normal force shift. Since our normal force estimation

model was not veried by direct measurements, we wished to

keep its impact on the nal results small if possible. Third, leaving

the other wheels free to spin gave us velocity references.

A disadvantage of differential braking is that it caused a yaw

moment on the vehicle. This generated a small non-zero body slip

angle. The slip angle was roughly proportional to , so any effect

it would have on the versus slip data would be seen mostly at

very high values of , which were not used for this study except

to assign a

max

for each test. Furthermore, the slip angle was the

same for all tests for any given value of so any effect it would

have on data would be consistent. To check this reasoning, we

conducted several preliminary tests to compare slip curves from

maneuvers with and without the yaw moment. The curves were so

similar that we were able to neglect the slip angle. A second

disadvantage of differential braking is that it clearly does not

translate to a practical system. However, of the three problems

mentioned above that differential braking remedied, only one of

themvelocity estimationwould appear in a practical system.

The other two were tied to our particular experimental apparatus.

As we will discuss below, the velocity estimation problem is al-

ready being investigated by other means, so there should be no

need for differential braking in the future.

Fig. 6 Illustration of Secant Effect: Both slip curves calcu-

lated from the brush model, and both have the same longitu-

dinal stiffness. Yet, the regression lines using data with be-

tween 0 and 0.4 have different slopes.

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4.1 Slip Curve Estimator

4.1.1 Longitudinal Wheel Slip. Both wheel angular speed

and wheel translational velocity are measured using standard ABS

wheel speed sensors, with translational velocity coming from the

rear, nonbraking wheels. Written for the braking left front 11

wheel, the approximated slip is s

(

11

21

)/

21

, where

11

is the angular velocity of the left front wheel and

21

is the an-

gular velocity of the freely rolling left rear wheel.

Of course, in a practical system all four wheels brake, so non-

braking wheels would not be available for velocity reference. This

difculty can be overcome by using a radar aimed at the ground,

a global positioning system see, for example, 20 for some

promising results, or a vehicle speed observer to estimate veloc-

ity 21.

4.1.2 Normal Force Estimation. To determine the friction

coefcient we need to know the normal force N

z

. To avoid

additional sensors to directly measure this force, we use a simpli-

ed model of the vehicles pitch dynamics.

The input of this model is the traction force acting on the wheel

during braking determined by the traction force observer de-

scribed in the next section. The states are the vertical displace-

ment and velocity of the center of gravity of the car body, u

z

and

u

z

, and pitch angle and pitch speed,

y

and

y

. The outputs of

the model are the normal forces at the four wheels.

For example, the normal force at the left front wheel, N

11

, is

used extensively in this study. It is calculated according to:

N

11

m

wh

gc l

f

y

u

z

d l

f

y

u

z

. (9)

where m

wh

is the wheel mass, g is the acceleration of gravity, l

f

is

the distance from the center of mass to the front axle, c is the

suspension spring constant, and d is the suspension damping con-

stant.

4.1.3 Traction Force Estimation. There are numerous ways

to determine the traction force during braking. For example, we

used a strain-based brake torque sensor for verication purposes

in this study, and in 22, braking force is estimated using brake

pressure measurements. However, both of these methods have the

drawback that they use specialized sensors.

An alternative that does not require torque or pressure measure-

ments is to use vehicle acceleration u

x

to estimate the traction

force via Newtons Second Law:

mu

x

F

d

F

r

F

11

F

12

F

21

F

22

(10)

where m is the vehicle mass including wheels, F

r

is the total

rolling resistance, and F

d

c

d

v

2

is the aerodynamic drag force,

which depends on the drag coefcient c

d

and the vehicle speed v.

The index 11 refers to the left front wheel; 12 refers to the right

front wheel; 21 refers to the left rear wheel, and 22 refers to the

right rear wheel.

To make this technique viable, we need to address three dif-

culties it presents. They are force proportioning, parametric uncer-

tainties, and calculation of the acceleration.

By force proportioning, we mean that even if m, u

x

, F

d

, and

F

r

were known, Newtons Second Law in Eq. 10 only gives the

sum F

11

F

12

F

21

F

22

, and not the individual wheel forces.

However, if the brake pressure proportioning is known and the

antilock brakes are offboth of which are reasonable assump-

tions under the low friction demands where a

max

estimator

should workthen dividing the total road force estimate among

the four wheels should not introduce signicant error. In our case,

only the 11-wheel braked and the others rolled freely, so the very

small traction force for the i j th free-rolling wheel is given by the

equation F

i j

J

i j

i j

/r

i j

, where J

i j

is the wheels moment of

inertia,

i j

is its angular velocity, and r

i j

is its effective radius.

Assuming that the non-braking wheels roll freely so that the con-

dition u

x

r

i j

i j

holds, we can solve for F

11

, the left front road

force according to:

F

11

m

J

12

r

12

2

J

21

r

21

2

J

22

r

22

2

u

x

F

d

F

r

(11)

Parametric uncertainties are a concern because, as Eq. 11

shows, they bias the force estimates directly. In particular, the

mass of the vehicle, which can change by 15% or more with the

addition of passengers has the potential to bias force estimates by

approximately the same percentage. For our experiments, how-

ever, all parameters were known precisely. In a practical system, a

vehicle mass estimator would be employed.

Finally, calculating the acceleration u

x

presents a problem if we

are to use Eq. 10 to nd the traction force. One option is to

measure it directly with an accelerometer. However, keeping with

the theme of using a minimal sensor set for this part of the study,

we chose instead to use numerically differentiated wheel speed

signals multiplied by the wheel radius to estimate the accelera-

tion.

Figure 7 compares a road force signal calculated from the

strain-based brake torque sensor with a road force signal calcu-

lated from Eq. 10, using the differentiated left-front wheel speed

to get u

x

. Oscillations aside, we see a satisfactory match of the

measured and the observed curve. Only at the end of the braking

maneuver do we observe a considerable deviation because the

wheel starts to stick and slip on the road surface as it approaches

instability. For the relatively low friction demand

max

estimator

we develop here, however, this high friction demand behavior

does not pose a problem.

4.2 Comparison of Estimated and Measured Slip Curves.

Next, the three items of the previous sectionsslip measure-

ments, traction force estimates, and normal force estimatesare

united to make estimated slip curves. Before using these estimated

slip curves to develop a

max

estimator, we demonstrate that they

do indeed look similar to the truth measured slip curves

of Sec.2.

Figure 8 shows versus slip data for two typical tests from our

set of 28 crescendo braking maneuvers. The maneuver used to

produce the left panel was on a dry road, and the maneuver used

for the right panel was on a soapy road.

In both panels, the dark, thin line is the truth slip curve

obtained using the strain-based brake torque sensor. The light

circles are the estimated slip curves obtained using the force esti-

mator of Sec. 4.1.3. For low to mid-level values of , the mea-

Fig. 7 Comparison between measured and estimated traction

force. The wheel is on the verge of locking at time3.5 sec-

onds.

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sured and estimated curves show good correspondence, except

that the estimated curve is signicantly more noisy than the truth

curve. This noise occurs in the direction and is due using the

differentiated wheel speed to estimate the longitudinal accelera-

tion of the vehicle see Sec. 4.1.3.

The quality of the estimated slip curves decreases for higher

slip and higher values as the differentiated wheel speed signal

becomes more noisy and the wheel approaches locking. When

the wheel nally does begin to lock, the estimated slip curve

diverges drastically from the measured slip curve because the slip-

ping wheels large accelerations no longer reect the vehicles

acceleration.

Figure 9 shows that this locking behavior does not have much

effect on the slope of the regression line, since we determine the

slope at slip values where the friction coefcient is relatively

small. The top panel comes from truth slip curves, and the

bottom panel comes from estimated slip curves. Both the top and

bottom panels plot the evolution of kthe slope of the linear t to

versus slip data, as dened in Sec. 2against

cut

, which

determines the amount of data that is used to calculate the t.

Using the notation of Sec. 2, the graph shows k

cut

versus

cut

.

For both the top truth panel and the bottom estimated

panel, the overall trends are the same. At low values of

cut

, k

cut

uctuates signicantly due to relatively low excitation see Sec. 2

for a discussion of excitation compared to the noise. The slopes

stabilize at 0.2and then begin perhaps with the soapy road

slopes slightly smaller than their dry road counterpartsand then

begin to show a secant effect as friction demand increases. The

dry road slip curve slopes remain relatively stable while the soapy

road slip curve slopes decrease as the slip curve begins to break

towards its lower peak at 0.6. The oscillations in the direc-

tion that we noted in the estimated slip curves do make the esti-

mated k

cut

versus

cut

plots much noisier.

4.3 Inferring

max

. Next, we re-visit the k-

max

correlation

that we saw in Section 2, except using estimated slip curves in-

stead of measured ones.

Figure 10 shows

max

versus k

0.4

for 18 braking maneuvers on

dry pavement and 10 braking maneuvers on soapy pavement. The

slope of the linear t to the estimated versus slip data, k

0.4

, is

on the horizontal axis, and the actual value of

max

from the brake

torque sensor is on the vertical axis. Note that this use of the

torque sensor is not inconsistent with our goal of eliminating it,

Fig. 8 Measured solid and estimated circles slip curves

during braking. Left: Dry road. Right: Soapy road.

Fig. 9 Regression line slope for the measured and estimated

slip curves from Fig. 8, plotted against the friction coefcient

k

cut

versus

cut

Fig. 10

max

versus k

0.4

for braking on dry dark stars and

soapy light diamonds road surfaces using k

0.4

of observed

slip curves

Fig. 11 Slopes of the linear part of dry-road slip curves taken

from the literature

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since we are only using it as a truth value to better evaluate our

algorithm. We conclude the following from this graph:

On dry road k

0.4

varies in the interval 23,40 and the maxi-

mum friction coefcient range is 0.85,1.15

On soapy road k

0.4

is in the interval 17,28.2 and the maxi-

mum friction range is 0.45,0.75.

We might be tempted to use this as a basis for a classication

rule like, If k

0.4

is greater than 28.2 then the road has

max

0.75. However, this relationship is not universally applicable,

and it is not robust. Figure 11 shows k ranges for dry pavement

from experiments using seven different tire/vehicle combinations.

Data was compiled from papers 11, 13, 12, and 22 and

came exclusively from experiments with passenger vehicles, as

opposed to tire testing apparatus. k corresponding to a dry road

with

max

1.0 can be expected to range between approximately

15 and 100, depending on the vehicle/tire combination and test

conditions.

Most of this variation is probably due to tire types. For ex-

ample, measurements on tire testers indicate that winter tires with

deep treads have signicantly less steep slip curves than summer

tires. Similarly, worn tires typically have steeper slip curves than

unworn tires, owing to their less pronounced tread 6,2.

The vehicle typefront wheel drive or rear wheel drivemay

also be important because it determines which wheels are used to

measure velocity and which wheels are used to measure slip in

the driving case. Normal force shifts during acceleration and de-

celeration subtly affect the radii of the front and rear tires in

different ways, possibly altering the measured slope of the slip

curve. Regardless of the reason for the slope variation, Fig. 11

shows that it is not reasonable to expect that a k-

max

relationship

that holds for one car/tire combination will hold equally well for a

different car/tire combination.

In fact, even considering a single car, it is unlikely that a

k-

max

relationship that works this month will work next month

or next year. As we mentioned above, for example, tire wear can

affect the slope of the slip curve. In addition, researchers have

noticed that ination pressure can change the slope of a slip

curves signicantly. Gustafsson 11 noted a 20% decrease in the

slope when the tire pressure of the slipping wheel was decreased

by 0.5 bar a realistic decrease between llings, and others have

noticed similar sensitivity, although not necessarily the same

trend. For example, in 20, slip curves measured on a test car that

used a highly accurate GPS velocity estimate 23,24 tended to

have smaller slopes when ination pressure was increased. Very

large swings in the ambient temperature may also be important,

both because temperature affects tire pressure and because tem-

perature affects the exibility of rubber.

5 Conclusions and Recommendations

The goal of this work was to use versus slip data collected

from low-slip, low- braking maneuvers to estimate the maxi-

mum coefcient of friction of the road surface. The premise of the

method is that

max

can be deduced from the behavior of the slip

curve at the relatively small slip and friction coefcient values

attained during normal braking.

The divergence of the composite soapy and dry slip curves of

Fig. 3 for friction demands greater than 0.2 accelerations greater

than 2 m/s

2

implied that, holding all other factors equal, the peak

friction coefcient had an effect on the behavior of the slip curve

at friction demands well below the maximum. However, the effect

of interest only became distinguishable from the noise when sev-

eral brake maneuvers were averaged together.

To begin to see a difference between soapy and dry roads using

slip curves from individual braking maneuvers, the friction de-

mand needed to be increased to 0.4, or accelerations of about 3.9

m/s

2

. This corresponds to somewhat aggressive driving, but it is

still well below the

max

values of 0.6 and 1.0 for the roads in

question. For this friction demand, we saw in Fig. 5 that the slope

of the linear t to the versus slip data correlated with the maxi-

mum friction coefcient.

We then sought explanations for the divergence of Fig. 3, the

correlation of Fig. 5, and other similar results in the literature

within the framework of tire theory. One explanation, which we

call the secant effect, can be derived from the brush tire model,

but it appears to be only part of the solution. Inter-layer or other

effects may also be at play.

Finally, we attempted to eliminate certain impractical sensors

and exploit the slip curve slope/

max

correlation of Fig. 5 in a

friction estimation algorithm using only a translational velocity

signal we obtained ours from non-braking rear wheels and the

wheel speed signals. In 23 out of 28 experiments, data from a

single braking event with friction demand of 0.4 about 3.9 m/s

2

acceleration would allow an estimator with a perfectly calibrated

threshold to correctly distinguish the soapy road from the dry one.

Considering that these experiments were performed under con-

trolled conditions, this is a rather high misclassication rate. It is

due to signicant noise in the slip measurements and in the

estimations which tends to obscure the subtle effect being mea-

sured. In Fig. 5, the mean k

0.4

value shows a drop of about 20%

when the road surfaces changes from dry to soapy but Fig. 10

shows a 20% variability in the dry slope estimate in from

2440 with a midpoint around 32. Additional sensors might help

to remedy this noise problem but would be likely to increase the

costs for the application in production cars. Increasing

cut

could

also improve the accuracy but reduces the number of useful esti-

mates during normal driving.

Another important difculty to consider is parameter changes.

The slope of a friction curve depends on ination pressure, tire

type, temperature and tire stiffness, among other factors. Even

without noise, uncertainties in these parameters can make it dif-

cult to determine reliable estimates of

max

on the basis of rela-

tively small changes in the slope due to different road surfaces.

We can conclude that there is still progress to make before the

observations of this paper could be applied in an accurate friction

identier. Some areas to pursue include the following:

Model of how peak friction can inuence low- behavior: It

would extremely valuable to fully understand the effect that

we and others have detected experimentally.

Improved on-vehicle slip measurement techniques: Novel

ways to use existing sensors like that of Dieckmann 9 and

the appearance of GPS and radars on passenger cars opens

new possibilities for high precision slip measurements.

Parametric studies and auto-calibration: Creating an auto-

calibration algorithm that could compensate for the param-

eters affecting the slip curves would greatly improve the

practicality of a slip-based friction estimator.

References

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