Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control

Steering of Semi-Trailers

Project Details


Start Date: 09/2009
End Date: 09/2013



Matthäus Alberding



Prof. Lino Guzzella
Dr. Christopher Onder


Lead Researcher(s):

Matthäus Alberding

In ambition to increase safety and manoeuvrability while decreasing fuel consumption and tyre wear of heavy vehicles, this project is aimed at development of a vehicle dynamics control system for semi-trailers.


Compared to passenger cars, vehicle dynamics control of articulated heavy vehicles such as tractor semi-trailer combinations, offers a number of unique challenges. As for instance: increased complexity of the governing dynamics due to the articulation, limitation of available energy and information on the trailer, necessity of adaptation to the loaded mass, demanding requirements towards reliability.

Beyond, a very basic challenge has to be encountered when steering of the trailer is considered: respective actuation cannot be assumed, since standard European semi-trailers utilize an unsteered tri-axle group. Simplicity and low financial efforts that come with such system are opposed by high tyre wear and fuel consumption as well as a reduced manoeuvrability. Steered systems are available, but expensive in terms of cost, weight, installation space, and energy demand, limiting their market penetration. A compromise is offered by self-steering systems, but those cannot be utilized in terms of active steering.


Based on these considerations, the research project pursues two objectives:


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