Title: Characterising road profiles as Markov Chains

Authors: John B. Ferris

Addresses: ZF Technologies, 15811 Centennial Drive, Northville, MI 48167, USA

Abstract: Load data representing severe customer usage is needed throughout a chassis development programme. It is necessary to understand the excitation, the road profile, in order to set the target chassis loads. Defining a large set of roads is impractical, so roads with similar characteristics must be grouped. Rough roads used for chassis development are not easily characterised however. In this work, roads are characterised via a Markov Chain. Any realisation generated from this process represents all profiles in the set. Realisations of any length can be generated, allowing efficient simulation. Some definitions and elementary properties of road profiles and Markov Chains are reviewed before introducing a transition matrix as a tool to characterise a measured road profile. A statistical test is introduced to assess whether a given road profile could be a realisation of a given transition matrix. An example demonstrates the limitations, benefits, and applicability of this representation.

Keywords: Markov Chain; Markov process; road profiles; stochastic process; surface roughness; chassis loads; statistical test; vehicle design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2004.005351

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2004 Vol.36 No.2/3, pp.103 - 115

Published online: 28 Sep 2004 *

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