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3/9/2015

RcTekRadioControlledModelCarHandlingTheAckermanSteeringPrinciple

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AckermanSteeringPrinciple
ThisarticleispartofasectionoftheRcTeksitedevotedtoradiocontrolledmodelcarhandling.Ascarhandlingisan
extremelycomplexsubject,itwillbequitesometimebeforeitisfinished.
ThisarticledealswiththeAckermanSteeringPrinciple,whichissometimesreferredtoastoeoutonturn.

AckermanSteeringPrinciple
TheAckermanSteeringPrincipledefinesthegeometrythatisappliedtoallvehicles(twoorfourwheel
drive)toenablethecorrectturningangleofthesteeringwheelstobegeneratedwhennegotiatinga
corneroracurve.
Beforethisprinciplewasdevelopedthevehiclesofthetime(horsedrawn)werefittedwithparallel
steeringarmsandsufferedfrompoorsteeringperformance.AMrRudolfAckermaniscreditedwith
workingoutthatusingangledsteeringarmswouldcurethesevehiclesofsuchsteeringproblems.

Why&How?
Theanimationontherightdepictsacartravellingaroundacorner
(inthiscase,acontinousone!).Theredlinesrepresentthepaththat
thewheelsfollow.IfyouPlayityouwillnoticethattheinsidewheels
ofthecararefollowingasmallerdiametercirclethantheoutside
wheels.
Ifboththewheelswereturnedbythesameamount,theinsidewheel
wouldscrub(effectivelyslidingsideways)andlessenthe
effectivenessofthesteering.Thistyrescrubbing,whichalsocreates
unwantedheatandwearinthetyre,canbeeliminatedbyturningthe
insidewheelatagreateranglethantheoutsideone.
YoumayStoptheanimationifrequired.
Thedifferenceintheanglesoftheinsideand
outsidewheelsmaybebetterunderstoodby
studyingthediagramtotheright,wherewe
havemarkedtheinsideandoutsideradiusthateachofthetyrespasses
through.TheInsideRadius(Ri)andtheOutsideRadius(Ro)aredependantona
numberoffactorsincludingthecarwidthandthetightnessofthecornerthecar
isintendedtopassthrough.
Measurementsforanglesofthearmsarethereforenotderivedfromthese
lines,theyarederivedfromthedistancesshowninMore,Less&TrueAckerman
Steeringsectionbelow.
Aligningbothwheelsintheproperdirectionoftravelcreatesconsistentsteeringwithoutunduewear
andheatbeinggeneratedineitherofthetyres.
Obviouslywithturningonewheelmorethantheotheryouaremisaligningthewheelsandyouneedto
dothiswhilstallowingbothwheelstobepointingstraightforwardwhenthecarisnotturning.To
enablethistohappen,themisalignmentneedstoprogressfromzero(wheelspointingstraightahead)
toapointwherethereisasufficientlydifferentanglebetweenbothwheelstocreatethealignmentof
bothwheelswhentheyarebothfullyturned.

SteeringArmAngles
Creatingmisalignmentofthewheelsis,asmentionedintheintroduction,achievedbyacombination
oftheangleandthelengthofthesteeringarms.Belowwehaveafewdiagramsthatgiveexamples
usingparallelandangledsteeringarmstodemonstratewhythereisaneedforusingtheAckerman
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RcTekRadioControlledModelCarHandlingTheAckermanSteeringPrinciple

SteeringPrinciple.
Pleaseignorethesizedifferenceoftheyellowcirclesinthediagramsbelow.Theyarearesultofthe
waythesteeringarmsweredrawnforsimplicityandarenotmeanttoaddconfusiontothedescription
oftheAckermanPrinciplewearedescribinginthisarticle.
ParallelSteeringArms
Thesteeringarmsinthediagramtotheleftarestraight
andparalleltothesidesofthevehicle,whichwould
createasituationwhereequalmovementofthesteering
servowouldproduceequalangularmovementofthe
wheels.
Whythisequalangular
movementoccurscanbeseen
bystudyingtheanimationofa
wheeltotheright,wherearedcirclehasbeendrawntoshowhowthe
sidewaysmovementofthesteeringarmsisconvertedinacircularone.As
thesteeringarmpivotpoint(A)isverticallyalignedwiththekingpinpivot
point(B)whenthewheelispointingstraightahead,thesameamountof
movementtotheLeftortotheRightmovesthesteeringarmpivotpointthe
sameverticaldistanceforwardofit'sstartingpoint.
YoucanresettheanimationtoitsStartingpositionifrequired.
AmorecompleteexplanationoftheissuesinvolvedisavailableinourThe
Circlearticle.
Ifthissteeringgeometrywasappliedtoaremotecontrolledmodelcar,theneitherorbothofthefront
wheelswouldnotbeatthecorrectsteeringangleandwouldresultinunpredictablesteering.
AngledSteeringArms
Thesteeringarmsintheimagetotheleftareangledinwards
tocreateameansforthewheelanglestochangeata
differentrate.ThisisthebasisoftheAckermanSteering
Principleandcreatesthisunequalangularmovementofthe
wheels.
Whythisunequalangular
movementoccursisshowninthe
animatedimagetotherightand
happensbecauseoftherelativepositionofthesteeringarmpivotpoint(A)
aroundthecircumferenceoftheredcirclethathasbeendrawnintoshow
howthesteeringarmpivotpointmovesaroundthekingpinpivotpoint(B).
Asthesteeringarmsareangled,thepivotpoint(A)isnotverticallyaligned
andis,inastraightaheadposition,partwayroundthecircle.Becauseof
this,aRightmovementofthesteeringarmwillcausethepivotpointto
moveagreaterdistanceintheforwarddirectionthanaLeftmovementof
thesteeringarm.YoucanresettheanimationtoitsStartingpositionif
required.
AmorecompleteexplanationoftheissuesinvolvedisavailableinourTheCirclearticle.
Animportantpointworthnotingisthatthisunequal
angularmovementisexponential,thatis,themoreyou
turnthewheelthegreatertheangulardifferencebetween
thewheelsotherwiseboththewheelswouldneverpoint
forwardwhenthecarisnotturning.
Thedeliberatelyemphasisedexampleabovewouldresult
inawheelangledifferencesomewhereintheregionof
thefiguresgivenintheimagetotheleft,whereasthe
parallelsteeringarmexamplewouldhaveresultedinthesamewheelanglesbeinggeneratedoneach
side.

More,Less&TrueAckermanSteering
Theseareoftenheardtermsinmodelcarracingandrefertotheamountofinequalityoftheanglesof
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RcTekRadioControlledModelCarHandlingTheAckermanSteeringPrinciple

thewheelsrelativetotrueAckermansteeringgeometry.
TrueAckermanAngleZeroToeOnTurnIn
TrueAckermansteeringgeometryisshowninthe
imagetotheright.Thisisdefinedbyanglingthe
steeringarmssothatalinedrawnbetweenboththe
kingpinandsteeringarmpivotpointsintersects
withthecentrelineoftherearaxle.
AsthisgivestrueAckermansteeringgeometry,
thereisnoToeAnglechangeontheinsidewheel
(thewheelisalignedwiththecircumferenceofthe
circle),whichcanbeseenintheimageaboveleft.
MoreAckermanAngleToeOutOnTurnIn
MoreAckermananglecanbeaddedtoasteering
setup,whichinvolvesadjustingtheangleofthe
pivotpointsonthesteeringarmssothatthepoint
ofintersectionisforwardofthecentrelineofthe
rearaxle.Pleaserefertotheimageontheright.
Thissteeringgeometryachievesgreaterangular
inequalityoftheturnedwheels,whichresultsinthe
insidewheeltryingtofollowasmallerdiameter
circlethanitactuallydoes.ThiseffectcanbeseenintheimageaboveleftandgeneratesToeOuton
thefrontinsidewheel.
LessAckermanAngleToeInOnTurnIn
LessAckermananglecanbesetonasteeringset
up,whichinvolvesadjustingtheangleofthepivot
pointsonthesteeringarmssothatthepointof
intersectionisbehindthecentrelineoftherear
axle.Pleaserefertotheimageontheright.
Thissteeringgeometryachievesareducedamount
ofangularinequalityoftheturnedwheels,which
resultsintheinsidewheeltryingtofollowalarger
diametercirclethanitactuallydoes.ThiseffectcanbeseenintheimageaboveleftandgeneratesToe
Inonthefrontinsidewheel.

SteeringArmLength
Asthesteeringarmsarelevers,theirlengthismoreorlessafreearea,butisrestrictedbythe
clearanceandavailablespaceonthemodelcar.
Theamountofmovementthatcanbegeneratedbytheservo/steeringlinkagearrangementisalsoa
primaryconsiderationasyoumustthinkaboutthetorquerequirementsofleverswithdifferentlengths.

Summary
ThisarticleisonlyintendedtointroducewhattheAckermanSteeringPrincipleis,wehaveleftouta
descriptionoftheeffectsofMoreorLessAckermananglewhichwillbecoveredinarelatedarticle.
WealsohavearelatedarticleaboutHowToeAngleAffectsAckermanSteeringAnglewhichisof
relevancetothisparticularareaofmodelcarhandling.
Moreimportantlythough,thereisanotherelementincarhandlingthatisparticularlyimportanttothe
modelcarowner.Thiselementiscalledslipangleandwillhaveafuturearticledevotedtoit.

RelatedInformation
HowToeAngleAffectsAckermanSteeringAngles
ToeIn&ToeOut
TheCircle
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RcTekRadioControlledModelCarHandlingTheAckermanSteeringPrinciple

2001,2009byDarrenBurnhill

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