Tridec, a Dutch specialist in mechnical and hydraulic steering systems, launches it’s first hydro-electronical steering system on an experimental trailer, running in the British fleet of Wincanton. The trailer is part of the fieldtest with longer trailers in Britain, like this example in the picture, which measures 15,65 metres.
The “Path Following Steering System” which allows trailers to accurately follow the path of the tractor unit pulling them and reduce potentially hazardous situations such as tail-swing and cut-in, will be unveiled for the first time at the Commercial Vehicle Show in April.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) is a year into a decade-long trial of longer semi trailers with selected operators deploying the vehicles into their fleets and reporting their findings back to the department.
However while longer trailers are proving they can bring significant benefits to the industry and wider economy, such as reduced road congestion, better fuel economy and lower C02 emissions, their length can also limit manoeuvrability and accessibility, both forwards and in reverse.
To address these challenges, the Cambridge Vehicle Dynamics Consortium (CVDC), a collaboration between engineers from Cambridge University and companies including Wincanton, SDC Trailers, TRIDEC, Haldex and Goodyear, decided to research and develop a solution.
The result is a highly advanced system that incorporates light-weight electro hydraulic actuators that control the steering of each axle. A computer reads signals from sensors on the vehicle and controls the actuators so that the trailer precisely follows the path of the towing point (fifth wheel) on the tractor unit.
Following the development of a commercial prototype it is hoped the new path following steering system will be deployed into “live” testing by the middle of this year, with CVDC member Wincanton using it on its fleet of longer semi trailers.