Southfield, Mich. - Lawrence Technological University has introduced the nation's first graduate-level course that deals with the use of embedded sensors in tires to improve a vehicle's overall performance.
"Intelligent Tire and Vehicle Structure Mechatronics" is an elective course in Lawrence Tech's master's degree program in mechatronics systems engineering.
Using VPG and LS-DYNA software, graduate students analyze responses of these tires to various loading and road conditions. This approach is particularly useful in studying the suitability of tire-embedded sensors for possible physical measurement of the tire response.
Mechatronics - the name is a combination of mechanics and electronics - employs a unique approach that cuts across multiple academic disciplines such as electrical and computing engineering, math and computer science. An engineer skilled in mechatronics can create a seamless and unified system for a specific project that encompasses the principles of the different disciplines while at the same time fulfilling the specific requirements of each.
Intelligent tires are now being researched at some leading universities and tire companies. In the future, data from electronic sensors embedded in tires may be utilized in a vehicle's mechatronic systems to optimize performance.
This is an important part of the move to intelligent vehicles since practically all the forces that move a vehicle come from tire-ground interaction, according to Professor Vladimir Vantsevich, director of the mechatronics systems engineering program in the A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical Engineering at Lawrence Tech.
"You can control the vehicle dynamics and performance if you control the tire rolling process," Vantsevich said. "This is actually a mechatronic system with sensors and actuators for monitoring, measuring and controlling tire rolling process."
The course is based on Vantsevich's research on tire dynamics control and Adjunct Professor Mukul Verma's extended experience in tire modeling and finite element analysis, in conjunction with recent accomplishments of other researchers.
No books have been written on intelligent tires, and no other American university has a course on this subject, according to Vantsevich.
Lawrence Technological University, ltu.edu, offers nearly 100 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech's 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey and Traverse City. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.