Wheel encoders play an important role in providing information about rotational kinematics of vehicle wheels. The sensor signals are utilized in critical vehicle systems responsible for vehicle safety, traction and braking performance, and stability of motion. This paper starts with an analysis of different types of sensors that have been used in rotational wheel kinematics estimations and controls. The main attention is given to sensor signal limitations related to the accuracy of measurement and response time that are important for agile-to-real-time tire dynamics estimation.

A detailed analysis of the wheel rotational velocity estimation process is presented for a conventional Hall Effect digital sensor. Through an analytical modelling, it is shown that this sensor can limit its accuracy due to an increased time for signal information assembly caused by the number of impulses and transient (unsteady) rotational motion in unstable road conditions.

A new concept of a rotational kinematics sensor is proposed and modeled as a multi-domain mechatronic system that includes new mechanical elements as well as electrical and magnetic components. The sensor concept provides a smooth continuous signal through the full rotational angle of the wheel and precise information about the rotational velocity and its changes in different unstable road conditions. Computational examples of both sensors (digital and proposed) are demonstrated with the use of a quarter-car model moving over a random road profile in stochastic gripping and rolling resistance conditions. A comparison of the two sensors’ accuracy to estimate the rotational velocity of the wheel is done with regard to an “ideal” sensor with a unity transfer function.

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