#2192: Gripredictor

I love to drive with precision, although it happens less frequently than I’d like.

Don Palmer, driving guru, has made this video in which he talks about when wheels twist their tyres so that corners get turned at speed without losing adhesion.


The twist is the so-called slip angle, shown in plan view as alpha on the diagram. This gets sensed by professional drivers in terms of resistance to turning of the steering wheel.

Today’s invention is an amplification of this sensation for we lesser mortals.

A camera would be mounted in each wheelwell looking vertically downward. Alpha would be estimated for each tyre using image analysis.

This would be combined with knowledge of tyre pressure, temperature and speed data to provide an estimate of how far away from slippage each wheel was at a given moment (based on previous test data for the tyre type fitted).

This knowledge could be used to make the steering torque required greater for bigger alpha. It might even allow it go prematurely ‘light’ (using eg a clutch mechanism in the steering column or even a drive by wire system). In this way, not only could rookie drivers be educated but accidents on slippery surfaces might be predicted and avoided.

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