(19)
(11)EP 3 646 836 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 17916092.4

(22)Date of filing:  26.06.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A61G 5/04  (2013.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2017/023353
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/003260 (03.01.2019 Gazette  2019/01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(71)Applicants:
  • Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Iwata-shi, Shizuoka 438-8501 (JP)
  • Takahashi, Hisashi
    Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa 252-0318 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • TAKAHASHI, Hisashi
    Sagamiharashi Kanagawa 252-0318 (JP)
  • UEMURA, Tatsuki
    Iwata-shi Shizuoka 438-8501 (JP)
  • MIZUNO, Masamitsu
    Iwata-shi Shizuoka 438-8501 (JP)

(74)Representative: Grünecker Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB 
Leopoldstraße 4
80802 München
80802 München (DE)

  


(54)POWER ASSIST WHEELCHAIR, POWER ASSIST UNIT FOR WHEELCHAIR, CONTROL DEVICE FOR POWER ASSIST WHEELCHAIR, CONTROL METHOD FOR POWER ASSIST WHEELCHAIR, AND PROGRAM


(57) A power assist wheelchair includes: a wheel; an electric motor that drives the wheel; an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor; and a control device that controls the electric motor. The control device includes: a total torque value calculation unit that calculates a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder; an assist torque value calculation unit that calculates an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor; a manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and a target current determination unit that determines a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value.




Description

Technical Field



[0001] The present disclosure relates to a power assist wheelchair, a power assist unit for a wheelchair, a control device for a power assist wheelchair, a control method for a power assist wheelchair, and a program.

Background Art



[0002] Known is a power assist wheelchair driven by combining power of an occupant rowing a hand rim by hand and power of an electric motor. In JP 2006-230421 A, it is described that manual torque given to a wheelchair by a person is estimated based upon an acceleration sensor, compensation torque is obtained by the manual torque and assist magnification, and the compensation torque is converted into a compensation current, thereby controlling a motor current.

Citation List


Patent Literature



[0003] Patent Literature 1: JP 2006-230421 A

Summary of Invention


Technical Problem



[0004] Meanwhile, in a case where the acceleration sensor is provided in the wheelchair as described in JP 2006-230421 A, since an output value changes depending on a position where the acceleration sensor is provided, it is difficult to accurately estimate the manual torque. Such a problem is particularly noticeable when a unit for power assist is retrofitted into the wheelchair.

[0005] An object of the present disclosure is to estimate manual torque with a simple hardware configuration.

Solution to Problem



[0006] 
  1. (1) A power assist wheelchair proposed in the present disclosure includes: a wheel; an electric motor that drives the wheel; an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor; and a control device that controls the electric motor. The control device includes: a total torque value calculation unit that calculates a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder; an assist torque value calculation unit that calculates an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor; a manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and a target current determination unit that determines a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value. Accordingly, since the total torque value is calculated based upon only the detection signal of the encoder and then the manual torque value is calculated, the manual torque can be estimated with a simple hardware configuration.
  2. (2) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the total torque value and the assist torque value may be calculated as torque acting on an output shaft of the electric motor. Accordingly, the manual torque can be more easily estimated.
  3. (3) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the total torque value and the assist torque value may be calculated as torque acting on the wheel. Accordingly, the manual torque can be more easily estimated.
  4. (4) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the manual torque value may be calculated as torque acting on the wheel. Accordingly, the manual torque acting on the wheel can be estimated.
  5. (5) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the target current determination unit may calculate a target torque value of the electric motor by multiplying the manual torque value converted from the torque acting on the wheel into the torque acting on the output shaft of the electric motor by a predetermined assist ratio. Accordingly, the target torque value of the electric motor can be calculated from the estimated manual torque acting on the wheel.
  6. (6) A power assist wheelchair proposed in the present disclosure includes: a wheel; an electric motor that drives the wheel; an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor; and a control device that controls the electric motor. The control device includes: a total torque value calculation unit that calculates a total torque value based upon a detection signal of the encoder; a twist torque value calculation unit that calculates a twist torque value representing torque causing twist of the wheel with respect to an axle; a manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the twist torque value from the total torque value; and a target current determination unit that determines a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value. Accordingly, the manual torque can be estimated in consideration of the twist of the wheel with respect to the axle.
  7. (7) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the total torque value calculation unit may calculate the total torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting a twist angular velocity value representing an angular velocity of the twist from an angular velocity value calculated based upon the detection signal of the encoder. Accordingly, the total torque value can be more accurately calculated.
  8. (8) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the twist angular velocity value may be calculated based upon the twist torque value. Accordingly, the total torque value can be calculated by using the twist torque value.
  9. (9) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the twist torque value calculation unit may calculate the twist torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting an assist torque value calculated based upon an output current of the electric motor from a torque value calculated based upon the detection signal of the encoder. Accordingly, the twist torque value can be calculated based upon the detection signal of the encoder and the output current of the electric motor.
  10. (10) A power assist wheelchair proposed in the present disclosure includes: first and second wheels separated from each other in the vehicle width direction; a first electric motor that drives the first wheel; a first encoder that detects rotation of the first electric motor; a second electric motor that drives the second wheel; a second encoder that detects rotation of the second electric motor; and a control device that controls the first and second electric motors. The control device includes: a first total torque value calculation unit that calculates a first total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the first encoder; a first assist torque value calculation unit that calculates a first assist torque value based upon an output current of the first electric motor; a first manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a first manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the first assist torque value from the first total torque value; a first target current determination unit that determines a target current of the first electric motor based upon the first manual torque value; a second total torque value calculation unit that calculates a second total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the second encoder; a second assist torque value calculating unit that calculates a second assist torque value based upon an output current of the second electric motor; a second manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a second manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the second assist torque value from the second total torque value; and a second target current determination unit that determines a target current of the second electric motor based upon the second manual torque value. Accordingly, with respect to each of the first and second wheels, since the total torque value is calculated based upon only the detection signal of the encoder and then the manual torque value is calculated, the manual torque can be estimated with a simple hardware configuration.
  11. (11) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the first target current determination unit may determine the target current of the first electric motor based upon the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value, and the second target current determination unit may determine the target current of the second electric motor based upon the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value. Accordingly, the target torque value of the electric motor can be calculated also in consideration of another manual torque.
  12. (12) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the first and second target current determination units may respectively calculate the target currents of the first and second electric motors based upon a value obtained by multiplying the sum of the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined straight-ahead assist ratio. Accordingly, the straightness of the wheelchair can be controlled.
  13. (13) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the first and second target current determination units may respectively calculate the target currents of the first and second electric motors based upon a value obtained by multiplying a difference between the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined turn assist ratio. Accordingly, the turnability of the wheelchair can be controlled.
  14. (14) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the first and second target current determination units may respectively calculate the target currents of the first and second electric motors based upon a value obtained by multiplying the sum of the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined straight-ahead assist ratio, and a value obtained by multiplying a difference between the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined turn assist ratio. Accordingly, the straightness and the turnability of the wheelchair can be controlled.
  15. (15) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the straight-ahead assist ratio may be greater than the turn assist ratio. Accordingly, the straightness of the wheelchair can be improved.
  16. (16) In an example of the power assist wheelchair, the turn assist ratio may be greater than the straight-ahead assist ratio. Accordingly, the turnability of the wheelchair can be improved.
  17. (17) A power assist unit for a wheelchair proposed in the present disclosure includes: a wheel; an electric motor that drives the wheel; an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor; and a control device that controls the electric motor. The control device includes: a total torque value calculation unit that calculates a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder; an assist torque value calculation unit that calculates an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor; a manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and a target current determination unit that determines a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value. Accordingly, since the total torque value is calculated based upon only the detection signal of the encoder and then the manual torque value is calculated, the manual torque can be estimated with a simple hardware configuration.
  18. (18) A control device for a power assist wheelchair proposed in the present disclosure including a wheel, an electric motor that drives the wheel, and an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor, the device includes: a total torque value calculation unit that calculates a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder; an assist torque value calculation unit that calculates an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor; a manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and a target current determination unit that determines a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value. Accordingly, since the total torque value is calculated based upon only the detection signal of the encoder and then the manual torque value is calculated, the manual torque can be estimated with a simple hardware configuration.
  19. (19) A control method for a power assist wheelchair proposed in the present disclosure including a wheel, an electric motor that drives the wheel, and an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor, the method includes: calculating a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder; calculating an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor; calculating a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and determining a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value. Accordingly, since the total torque value is calculated based upon only the detection signal of the encoder and then the manual torque value is calculated, the manual torque can be estimated with a simple hardware configuration.
  20. (20) A program proposed in the present disclosure for causing a computer of a control device for a power assist wheelchair including a wheel, an electric motor that drives the wheel, and an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor to function as a total torque value calculation unit that calculates a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder; an assist torque value calculation unit that calculates an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor; a manual torque value calculation unit that calculates a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and a target current determination unit that determines a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value. Accordingly, since the total torque value is calculated based upon only the detection signal of the encoder and then the manual torque value is calculated, the manual torque can be estimated with a simple hardware configuration.

Advantageous Effects of Invention



[0007] According to the present invention, since a total torque value is calculated based upon only a detection signal of an encoder and then a manual torque value is calculated, the manual torque can be estimated with a simple hardware configuration.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0008] 

[Fig. 1] Fig. 1 is a left side view illustrating a power assist wheelchair according to an embodiment.

[Fig. 2] Fig. 2 is a plan view illustrating the power assist wheelchair.

[Fig. 3] Fig. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a control device for the power assist wheelchair according to the embodiment.

[Fig. 4] Fig. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a control method for the power assist wheelchair according to the embodiment.

[Fig. 5] Fig. 5 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of a control device according to a first control example.

[Fig. 6] Fig. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a manual torque estimation routine according to the first control example.

[Fig. 7] Fig. 7 is a flowchart illustrating a routine included in the manual torque estimation routine.

[Fig. 8] Fig. 8 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of a control device according to a second control example.

[Fig. 9] Fig. 9 is a flowchart illustrating a manual torque estimation routine according to the second control example.

[Fig. 10] Fig. 10 is a flowchart illustrating a routine included in the manual torque estimation routine.

[Fig. 11] Fig. 11 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of a control device according to a third control example.

[Fig. 12] Fig. 12 is a flowchart illustrating a manual torque estimation routine according to the third control example.

[Fig. 13] Fig. 13 is a flowchart illustrating a routine included in the manual torque estimation routine.

[Fig. 14] Fig. 14 is a flowchart illustrating a routine included in the manual torque estimation routine.

[Fig. 15] Fig. 15 is a flowchart illustrating a routine included in the manual torque estimation routine.

[Fig. 16] Fig. 16 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of a control device according to another embodiment.


Description of Embodiments



[0009] Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

[0010] Figs. 1 and 2 are a left side view and a plan view illustrating a power assist wheelchair 1 (hereinafter also abbreviated as a "wheelchair 1") according to an embodiment. In the specification, a forward direction, a backward direction, an upward direction, a downward direction, a left direction, and a right direction indicate a forward direction, a backward direction, an upward direction, a downward direction, a left direction, and a right direction when viewed from an occupant seated on a seat 5 of the wheelchair 1. The left and right direction is also referred to as a vehicle width direction. Arrows F in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 represent the forward direction.

[0011] The wheelchair 1 includes a vehicle body frame 3 formed of a metal pipe and the like. A pair of left and right wheels 2L and 2R and a pair of left and right casters 4L and 4R are rotatably supported on the vehicle body frame 3. The vehicle body frame 3 includes a pair of left and right back frames 3b, a pair of left and right armrests 3c, and a pair of left and right seat frames 3d.

[0012] The seat frame 3d extends in the forward direction from the vicinity of the axles of the wheels 2L and 2R, and the seat 5 for seating an occupant is provided between the seat frames 3d. A front part of the seat frame 3d is bent in the downward direction, and a footrest 9 is provided at a front lower end of the seat frame 3d.

[0013] A rear end of the seat frame 3d is connected to the back frame 3b. The back frame 3b extends in the upward direction, and a back support 6 is provided between the back frames 3b. An upper part of the back frame 3b is bent in the backward direction, and a hand grip 7 for a helper is provided.

[0014] The armrest 3c is disposed in the upward direction of the seat frame 3d. A rear end of the armrest 3c is connected to the back frame 3b. A front part of the armrest 3c is bent in the downward direction, and is connected to the seat frame 3d.

[0015] The wheels 2L and 2R include a disk-shaped hub 25 including the axle, an outer peripheral part 26 surrounding the hub 25, and a plurality of radially extending spokes 27 interposed between the hub 25 and the outer peripheral part 26. The outer peripheral part 26 includes a rim to which the spoke 27 is connected, and a tire mounted on the rim.

[0016] The wheelchair 1 includes hand rims 13L and 13R for manually driving the wheels 2L and 2R, respectively. The hand rims 13L and 13R are annularly formed and formed to have smaller diameters than those of the wheels 2L and 2R, and connected to a plurality of connection pipes 28 radially extending from the hub 25.

[0017] Further, the wheelchair 1 also includes electric motors 21L and 21R for respectively driving the wheels 2L and 2R. The electric motors 21L and 21R are formed of, for example, a brushless DC motor or an AC servo motor, and include encoders 24L and 24R (refer to Fig. 3) for detecting rotation.

[0018]  Specifically, the left hand rim 13L is disposed on the outside in the vehicle width direction with respect to the left wheel 2L. The occupant of the wheelchair 1 manually drives the left wheel 2L by rotating the left hand rim 13L. Further, the left electric motor 21L is disposed on the inside in the vehicle width direction with respect to the left wheel 2L. The left wheel 2L rotates integrally with the left electric motor 21L. The left electric motor 21L may be coaxially provided with the left wheel 2L, or may be connected thereto via a gear.

[0019] In the same manner, the right hand rim 13R is disposed on the outside in the vehicle width direction with respect to the right wheel 2R. The occupant of the wheelchair 1 manually drives the right wheel 2R by rotating the right hand rim 13R. Further, the right electric motor 21R is disposed on the inside in the vehicle width direction with respect to the right wheel 2R. The right wheel 2R rotates integrally with the right electric motor 21R. The right electric motor 21R may be coaxially provided with the right wheel 2R, or may be connected thereto via a gear.

[0020] As illustrated in Fig. 3, the wheelchair 1 includes controllers 30L and 30R for respectively controlling the electric motors 21L and 21R. In this example, two controllers 30L and 30R for respectively controlling the electric motors 21L and 21R are provided as a control device according to the embodiment, but this example is not limited thereto, and one controller for controlling the both electric motors 21L and 21R may be provided.

[0021] Specifically, the left encoder 24L provided in the left electric motor 21L detects the rotation of the left electric motor 21L, and outputs a detection signal corresponding to the rotation to the left controller 30L. The left controller 30L determines a target current of the left electric motor 21L based upon the detection signal of the left encoder 24L, and controls a current to be outputted to the left electric motor 21L so that the target current flows. Accordingly, an assist torque to be outputted by the left electric motor 21L is adjusted.

[0022] In the same manner, the right encoder 24R provided in the right electric motor 21R detects the rotation of the right electric motor 21R, and outputs a detection signal corresponding to the rotation to the right controller 30R. The right controller 30R determines a target current of the right electric motor 21R based upon the detection signal of the right encoder 24R, and controls a current to be outputted to the right electric motor 21R so that the target current flows. Accordingly, an assist torque to be outputted by the right electric motor 21R is adjusted.

[0023] The controllers 30L and 30R respectively include a microprocessor and a storage unit, and the microprocessor executes processing according to a program stored in the storage unit. The storage unit includes a main storage unit (for example, a RAM) and an auxiliary storage unit (for example, a non-volatile semiconductor memory) . The program is supplied to the storage unit via an information storage medium or a communication line.

[0024] The controllers 30L and 30R respectively include a motor driver, an AD converter, a communication interface in addition to the microprocessor and the storage unit. The left controller 30L and the right controller 30R transmit and receive information to and from each other by communication using, for example, a CAN (Controller Area Network).

[0025] A battery 22 for supplying electric power to the electric motors 21L and 21R and the controllers 30L and 30R is mounted on the wheelchair 1. In this example, the battery 22 is detachably disposed at the right rear part of the vehicle body frame 3. Further, the wheelchair 1 includes a cable 23 including a feed line and a communication line extending in the left and right direction in the rear direction of the back support 6.

[0026] In this example, the electric power is directly supplied from the battery 22 to the right electric motor 21R and the right controller 30R, and the electric power is supplied from the battery 22 to the left electric motor 21L and the left controller 30L via the cable 23. Further, the left controller 30L and the right controller 30R transmit and receive the information to and from each other via the communication line included in the cable 23.

[0027] The wheelchair 1 includes a power assist unit 10 for the wheelchair (hereinafter also abbreviated as a "unit 10") according to the embodiment attachable to and detachable from the vehicle body frame 3. The unit 10 includes the wheels 2L and 2R, the hand rims 13L and 13R, the electric motors 21L and 21R, the encoders 24L and 24R, and the controllers 30L and 30R. Further, the unit 10 also includes the battery 22 and the cable 23.

[0028] The unit 10 can also be attached to and detached from a vehicle body frame different from the vehicle body frame 3. For example, it is possible to change a general wheelchair into the power assist wheelchair 1 by removing the wheels from the vehicle body frame of the general wheelchair and by mounting the unit 10 on the vehicle body frame thereof.

[0029] Hereinafter, the control of the electric motors 21L and 21R by the controllers 30L and 30R will be specifically described. Further, in the following description, the wheels 2L and 2R are collectively referred to as the "wheel 2"; the hand rims 13L and 13R are collectively referred to as the "hand rim 13"; the electric motors 21L and 21R are collectively referred to as the "electric motor 21"; the encoders 24L and 24R are collectively referred to as the "encoder 24"; and the controllers 30L and 30R are collectively referred to as the "controller 30".

[0030] Fig. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a control method according to an embodiment. The controller 30 implements a control method illustrated in Fig. 4 in such a manner that the microprocessor executes the processing according to the program according to the embodiment stored in the storage unit.

[0031] First, the controller 30 defines necessary variables such as a gravitational acceleration, a deceleration ratio, and a motor torque constant (S1). Specifically, the controller 30 reads out a value corresponding to each variable from the storage unit, and inputs the read value to each variable.

[0032] Next, the controller 30 acquires an encoder value and a motor output current (S2). The encoder value is a value of the detection signal of the encoder 24 representing the rotation of the electric motor 21. The motor output current is an amount of current outputted from the controller 30 to the electric motor 21.

[0033] Next, the controller 30 executes a manual torque estimation routine that estimates manual torque based upon the acquired encoder value and the motor output current (S3). The manual torque is torque inputted from the outside such as, for example, torque inputted to the wheel 2 by rotating the hand rim 13 by an occupant of the wheelchair 1. The manual torque is not limited thereto, and for example, the manual torque may be torque inputted to the wheel 2 by pressing the hand grip 7 by a helper, may be torque inputted to the wheel 2 by kicking the floor by the occupant, and may be torque inputted to the wheel 2 by directly rotating the wheel 2 by the occupant.

[0034] Next, the controller 30 executes a target current determination routine that determines a motor target current based upon the estimated manual torque (S4). The motor target current is a target current of the electric motor 21, and is a current amount of the electric motor 21 which is set as the target of the controller 30.

[0035] The controller 30 repeats steps S2 to S4 while a power supply state is ON (S5: YES). When the power supply state is OFF (S5: NO), the controller 30 terminates the processing.

[0036] Hereinafter, specific examples of the manual torque estimation routine S3 and the target current determination routine S4 will be described. In the first to third control examples described hereinbelow, estimation methods of the manual torque are different from each other.

[First Control Example]



[0037] Fig. 5 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of the controller 30 (hereinafter also referred to as a controller 30A) according to a first control example. Each function block is implemented in such a manner that the microprocessor included in the controller 30 executes the processing according to the program stored in the storage unit.

[0038] The controller 30A includes a manual torque estimation unit 40 (hereinafter also referred to as a manual torque estimation unit 40A) and a target current determination unit 50 according to the first control example. The manual torque estimation unit 40 executes the manual torque estimation routine S3, and the target current determination unit 50 executes the target current determination routine S4. The manual torque estimation unit 40 is an example of a manual torque value calculation unit.

[0039] The manual torque estimation unit 40A includes an angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41, a motor current-torque conversion unit 43, a low pass filter 44, a subtraction unit 45, a wheel torque conversion unit 47, and a low pass filter 49.

[0040] The angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41 is an example of a total torque value calculation unit, and calculates a total torque value Ttotal based upon the detection signal of the encoder 24. Specifically, the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41 converts a motor angular velocity ωMtr calculated from the encoder value into the total torque value Ttotal. The total torque value Ttotal is calculated as torque acting on the electric motor 21. The total torque value Ttotal calculated by the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41 is outputted to the subtraction unit 45.

[0041] The total torque includes the manual torque inputted from the outside and the assist torque outputted from the electric motor 21. Since the wheel 2 and the electric motor 21 integrally rotate, the detection signal of the encoder 24 that detects the rotation of the electric motor 21 represents the rotation by the total torque acting on the wheel 2 (that is, the sum of the manual torque inputted from the outside and the assist torque outputted from the electric motor 21).

[0042] Among the equations multiplied in the motor angular velocity ωMtr in the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41, τ is a time constant of the low pass filter, s is a Laplace operator, JMtr is an inertia moment of the electric motor 21, and DMtr is a viscosity coefficient of the electric motor 21. The denominator of the equation is a component of the low pass filter, and the numerator thereof is a component that converts angular velocity into torque.

[0043] The angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41 calculates the total torque value Ttotal based upon "only" the detection signal of the encoder 24. The meaning of based upon "only" the detection signal of the encoder 24 indicates that no detection signal other than the detection signal of the encoder 24 is used among the detection signals inputted to the controller 30. For example, even though an acceleration sensor is provided and a detection signal of the acceleration sensor is inputted to the controller 30, the detection signal of the acceleration sensor is not used for the calculation of the total torque value Ttotal.

[0044] The motor current-torque conversion unit 43 is an example of an assist torque value calculation unit, and calculates an assist torque value Tast based upon a motor output current iMtr. The assist torque is torque outputted from the electric motor 21. Specifically, the motor current-torque conversion unit 43 calculates the assist torque value Tast by multiplying the motor output current iMtr by a motor torque constant kt. The assist torque value Tast is calculated as torque acting on the electric motor 21.

[0045] The assist torque value Tast calculated by the motor current-torque conversion unit 43 is outputted to the subtraction unit 45 via the low pass filter 44.

[0046] The subtraction unit 45 calculates a difference Tdif between the total torque value Ttotal from the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41 and the assist torque value Tast from the motor current-torque conversion unit 43. Specifically, the subtraction unit 45 calculates the difference Tdif by subtracting the assist torque value Tast from the total torque value Ttotal.

[0047] The difference Tdif calculated by the subtraction unit 45 is converted from the torque acting on the electric motor 21 into the torque acting on the wheel 2 by the wheel torque conversion unit 47, and then is further outputted to the target current determination unit 50 as a manual torque value Tin via the low pass filter 49. That is, the manual torque value Tin is calculated as the torque acting on the wheel 2.

[0048] In the wheel torque conversion unit 47, β to be multiplied by the difference Tdif is transmission efficiency from the electric motor 21 to the wheel 2, and gr is a deceleration ratio of the electric motor 21 to the wheel 2.

[0049] The target current determination unit 50 includes a motor torque conversion unit 51, an assist ratio multiplication unit 53, and a torque-motor current conversion unit 55.

[0050] The motor torque conversion unit 51 divides the manual torque value Tin from the manual torque estimation unit 40A by the deceleration ratio gr, thereby converting the manual torque value Tin from the torque acting on the wheel 2 into the torque acting on the electric motor 21. The converted manual torque value Tin is outputted to the assist ratio multiplication unit 53.

[0051] The assist ratio multiplication unit 53 multiplies the manual torque value Tin converted into the torque acting on the electric motor 21 by a predetermined assist ratio α. The assist ratio α is, for example, a value which is greater than 0 and equal to or smaller than 2. Further, the assist ratio α may be changed according to a vehicle speed of the wheelchair 1 calculated from the detection signal of the encoder 24.

[0052] The torque-motor current conversion unit 55 calculates the target current of the electric motor 21 based upon the manual torque value Tin multiplied by the assist ratio α. Specifically, the torque-motor current conversion unit 55 calculates the target current of the electric motor 21 by dividing the manual torque value Tin multiplied by the assist ratio by the motor torque constant kt.

[0053]  The controller 30 controls a current outputted to the electric motor 21 so that the target current flows. The current outputted from the controller 30 to the electric motor 21 is detected as the motor output current iMtr, and is used for calculating the assist torque value Tast by the motor current-torque conversion unit 43.

[0054] Fig. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a manual torque estimation routine (hereinafter also referred to as a manual torque estimation routine S6A) according to the first control example. Fig. 7 is a flowchart illustrating a total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S12 included in the manual torque estimation routine S6A.

[0055] In the manual torque estimation routine S6A illustrated in Fig. 6, the controller 30A first calculates the motor angular velocity ωMtr from the encoder value (S11). Next, the controller 30A executes the total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S12. The total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S12 is executed in a block group 401A of the controller 30A illustrated in Fig. 5.

[0056] In the total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S12 illustrated in Fig. 7, the controller 30A first converts the motor output current iMtr into the assist torque value Tast (S21: operation as the motor current-torque conversion unit 43). Next, the controller 30A performs low pass filter processing on the assist torque value Tast (S22: operation as the low pass filter 44).

[0057]  Next, the controller 30A converts the motor angular velocity ωMtr into the total torque value Ttotal (S23: operation as the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41). Next, the controller 30A calculates the difference Tdif between the total torque value Ttotal and the assist torque value Tast, and converts the difference Tdif into the torque acting on the wheel 2 (S24: operation as the subtraction unit 45 and the wheel torque conversion unit 47).

[0058] Referring back to Fig. 6, the controller 30A performs the low pass filter processing on the difference Tdif calculated as the torque acting on the wheel 2 (S13: operation as the low pass filter 49). The difference Tdif calculated in this manner is outputted as the manual torque value Tin, and the manual torque estimation routine S6A is terminated.

[0059] In the first control example described above, since the total torque value Ttotal is calculated based upon "only" the detection signal of the encoder 24 and then the manual torque value Tin is calculated by using the total torque value Ttotal, it is possible to estimate the manual torque with a simple hardware configuration. This is particularly advantageous for the power assist unit 10 for the wheelchair attachable to and detachable from the vehicle body frame 3.

[0060] On the other hand, since estimating the manual torque by using an acceleration sensor or a gyro sensor has a problem in that a detected value changes depending on a sensor mounting position, the estimation is not particularly appropriate for a unit attachable to and detachable from various wheelchairs. That is, since it is desirable to set a sensor mounting position at the center of the wheelchair but the center of the wheelchair is different depending on the type of the wheelchair, it is difficult to always match the sensor mounting position with the center of the wheelchair.

[Second Control Example]



[0061] Fig. 8 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of the controller 30 (hereinafter also referred to as a controller 30B) according to a second control example. A detailed description of a configuration overlapped with the above-described control example will be omitted by adding the same number thereto.

[0062] The controller 30B includes the manual torque estimation unit 40 (hereinafter also referred to as a manual torque estimation unit 40B) and the target current determination unit 50 according to the second control example. The manual torque estimation unit 40B includes an angular velocity-torque conversion unit 42, the motor current-torque conversion unit 43, the wheel torque conversion unit 47, the low pass filter 44, the subtraction unit 45, and the low pass filter 49.

[0063] The angular velocity-torque conversion unit 42 is an example of a total torque value calculation unit, and calculates the total torque value Ttotal based upon the detection signal of the encoder 24. Specifically, the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 42 converts the wheel angular velocity ωWhl calculated from the encoder value into the total torque value Ttotal. The wheel angular velocity ωwhl is obtained by dividing the motor angular velocity ωMtr calculated from the encoder value by the deceleration ratio of the electric motor 21 to the wheel 2. The total torque value Ttotal is calculated as the torque acting on the wheel 2.

[0064] Among the equations multiplied in the wheel angular velocity ωwhl in the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 42, Jwhl is an inertia moment of the wheel 2, and DWhl is a viscosity coefficient of the wheel 2.

[0065] The angular velocity-torque conversion unit 42 of the example also calculates the total torque value Ttotal based upon "only" the detection signal of the encoder 24.

[0066] The assist torque value Tast calculated by the motor current-torque conversion unit 43 is converted from the torque acting on the electric motor 21 into the torque acting on the wheel 2 by the wheel torque conversion unit 47, and is further outputted to the subtraction unit 45 via the low pass filter 44.

[0067] The difference Tdif calculated by the subtraction unit 45 is outputted to the target current determination unit 50 as the manual torque Tin via the low pass filter 49. That is, the manual torque Tin is calculated as the torque acting on the wheel 2.

[0068] Fig. 9 is a flowchart illustrating the manual torque estimation routine (hereinafter also referred to as a manual torque estimation routine S6B) according to the second control example. Fig. 10 is a flowchart illustrating a total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S32 included in the manual torque estimation routine S6B.

[0069] In the manual torque estimation routine S6B illustrated in Fig. 9, the controller 30B first calculates the motor angular velocity ωMtr from the encoder value, and calculates the wheel angular velocity ωWhl from the motor angular velocity ωMtr (S31). In this example, as described above, the wheel angular velocity ωwhl is a value obtained by dividing the motor angular velocity ωMtr by the deceleration ratio.

[0070] Next, the controller 30B executes the total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S32. The total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S32 is executed in a block group 401B of the controller 30B illustrated in Fig. 8.

[0071] In the total torque-assist torque subtraction routine S32 illustrated in Fig. 10, the controller 30B first converts the motor output current iMtr into the assist torque value Tast, and converts the assist torque value Tast into the torque acting on the wheel 2 (S41: operation as the motor current-torque conversion unit 43 and the wheel torque conversion unit 47). Next, the controller 30B performs the low pass filter processing on the assist torque value Tast (S42: operation as the low pass filter 44).

[0072] Next, the controller 30B converts the wheel angular velocity ωwhl into the total torque value Ttotal (S43: operation as the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 42). Next, the controller 30B calculates the difference Tdif between the total torque value Ttotal and the assist torque value Tast (S44: operation as the subtraction unit 45).

[0073] Referring back to Fig. 9, the controller 30B performs the low pass filter processing on the difference Tdif (S33: operation as the low pass filter 49). The difference Tdif calculated in this manner is outputted as the manual torque value Tin, and the manual torque estimation routine S6B is terminated.

[0074] Also, in the second control example described above, in the same manner as that of the first control example, since the total torque value Ttotal is calculated based upon "only" the detection signal of the encoder 24 and then the manual torque value Tin is calculated by using the total torque value Ttotal, it is possible to estimate the manual torque with a simple hardware configuration.

[Third Control Example]



[0075] In the wheelchair 1, actually, the wheel 2 may twist with respect to the axle. Specifically, a phase of the outer ring side of the wheel 2 and the axle side thereof may be deviated by elastic deformation of a member between the outer periphery of the wheel 2 and the axle thereof. For example, the spoke 27 between the outer peripheral part 26 of the wheel 2 and the hub 25 illustrated in Fig. 1 is mainly elastically deformed. Therefore, in this example, the manual torque is estimated in consideration of such a twist.

[0076] Fig. 11 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of the controller 30 (hereinafter also referred to as a controller 30C) according to a third control example. A detailed description of a configuration overlapped with the above-described control example will be omitted by adding the same number thereto. The controller 30C includes the manual torque estimation unit 40 (hereinafter also referred to as a manual torque estimation unit 40C) and the target current determination unit 50 according to the third control example.

[0077] The manual torque estimation unit 40C includes a block group 401C that calculates a twist torque value Ttor that causes a twist; a block group 402C that calculates the wheel angular velocity ωWhl based upon the twist torque value Ttor; and a block group 403C that calculates the manual torque value Tin.

[0078] The block group 401C that calculates the twist torque value Ttor is an example of a twist torque value calculation unit. Since the block group 401C is common to the block group 401A in the first control example, a detailed description thereof will be omitted. In this example, the difference Tdif converted into the torque acting on the wheel 2 (the difference between the total torque value Ttotal calculated based upon the motor angular velocity ωMtr and the assist torque value Tast calculated based upon the motor output current iMtr) is outputted as the twist torque value Ttor.

[0079] The block group 402C that calculates the wheel angular velocity ωwhl includes a wheel angular velocity conversion unit 61, a low pass filter 62, a twist angle conversion unit 64, a twist angular velocity conversion unit 65, a low pass filter 66, and a subtraction unit 68.

[0080] The wheel angular velocity conversion unit 61 converts the motor angular velocity ωMtr into the angular velocity of the wheel 2 by dividing the motor angular velocity ωMtr calculated from the encoder value by the deceleration ratio gr of the electric motor 21 to the wheel 2. The motor angular velocity ωMtr converted into the angular velocity of the wheel 2 is outputted to the subtraction unit 68 via the low pass filter 62.

[0081] The twist angle conversion unit 64 calculates a twist angle Δθ based upon the twist torque value Ttor. The twist angle Δθ is calculated by dividing the twist torque value Ttor by a twist spring constant K. The twist angle Δθ represents an angle difference with respect to the axle of the wheel 2. That is, the twist angle Δθ is an angle difference generated between the axle side and the outer ring side by the twist torque acting on the axle side of the wheel 2.

[0082] The twist angular velocity conversion unit 65 calculates a twist angular velocity Δω based upon the twist angle Δθ. The twist angular velocity Δω is calculated by time-differentiating the twist angle Δθ. The twist angular velocity Δω is an angular velocity difference generated between the axle side and the outer ring side by the twist torque acting on the axle side of the wheel 2. The twist angular velocity Δω is outputted to the subtraction unit 68 via the low pass filter 66.

[0083] The subtraction unit 68 outputs a difference obtained by subtracting the twist angular velocity Δω from the motor angular velocity ωMtr converted into the angular velocity of the wheel 2 as the wheel angular velocity ωWhl. Thus, the wheel angular velocity ωWhl closer to an actual value in consideration of the twist is obtained, and the obtained wheel angular velocity ωWhl is used for estimating the manual torque.

[0084] The block group 403C that calculates the manual torque value Tin includes an angular velocity-torque conversion unit 71, a low pass filter 73, a subtraction unit 75, and a low pass filter 77.

[0085] The angular velocity-torque conversion unit 71 is an example of a total torque value calculation unit, and calculates a total torque value Ttotal_whl. Specifically, the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 71 converts the wheel angular velocity ωwhl in consideration of the twist from the block group 402C (that is, the difference obtained by subtracting the twist angular velocity Δω from the motor angular velocity ωMtr converted into the angular velocity of the wheel 2) into the total torque value Ttotal_whl. The total torque value Ttotal_whl calculated by the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 71 is outputted to the subtraction unit 75.

[0086] On the other hand, the twist torque value Ttor from the block group 401C is outputted to the subtraction unit 75 via the low pass filter 73.

[0087] The subtraction unit 75 calculates a difference Tdif_whl between the total torque value Ttotal_whl from the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 71 and the twist torque value Ttor from the low pass filter 73. Specifically, the subtraction unit 75 calculates the difference Tdif_whl by subtracting the twist torque value Ttor from the total torque value Ttotal_whl. The difference Tdif_whl calculated by the subtraction unit 75 is outputted to the target current determination unit 50 as the manual torque value Tin via the low pass filter 77.

[0088] Fig. 12 is a flowchart illustrating the manual torque estimation routine (hereinafter also referred to as a manual torque estimation routine S6C) according to the third control example. Figs. 13 to 15 are flowcharts illustrating a twist torque calculation routine S52, a wheel angular velocity calculation routine S53, and a total torque-twist torque subtraction routine S53 included in the manual torque estimation routine S6C.

[0089] In the manual torque estimation routine S6C illustrated in Fig. 12, the controller 30C first calculates the motor angular velocity ωMtr from the encoder value (S51). Next, the controller 30C executes the twist torque calculation routine S52. The twist torque calculation routine S52 is executed in the block group 401C of the controller 30C illustrated in Fig. 11.

[0090] In the twist torque calculation routine S52 illustrated in Fig. 13, the controller 30C first converts the motor output current iMtr into the assist torque value Tast (S61: operation as the motor current-torque conversion unit 43). Next, the controller 30C performs the low pass filter processing on the assist torque value Tast (S62: operation as the low pass filter 44).

[0091] Next, the controller 30C converts the motor angular velocity ωMtr into the total torque value Ttotal (S63: operation as the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 41). Next, the controller 30C calculates the difference Tdif between the total torque value Ttotal and the assist torque value Tast, and converts the difference Tdif into the torque acting on the wheel 2 (S64: operations as the subtraction unit 45 and the wheel torque conversion unit 47).

[0092] The difference Tdif converted into the torque acting on the wheel 2 (the difference between the total torque value Ttotal calculated based upon the motor angular velocity ωMtr and the assist torque value Tast calculated based on the motor output current iMtr) is outputted as the twist torque value Ttor.

[0093] Next, in the manual torque estimation routine S6C illustrated in Fig. 12, the controller 30C executes the wheel angular velocity calculation routine S53. The wheel angular velocity calculation routine S53 is executed in the block group 402C of the controller 30C illustrated in Fig. 11.

[0094] In the wheel angular velocity calculation routine S53 illustrated in Fig. 14, the controller 30C first calculates the twist angle Δθ from the twist torque value Ttor, calculates the twist angular velocity Δω from the twist angle Δθ, and performs the low pass filter processing on the twist angular velocity Δω (S71: operations as the twist angle conversion unit 64, the twist angular velocity conversion unit 65, and the low pass filter 66).

[0095] Next, the controller 30C converts the motor angular velocity ωMtr into the angular velocity of the wheel 2 and performs the low pass filter processing (S72: operation as the wheel angular velocity conversion unit 61 and the low pass filter 62). Next, the controller 30C calculates the wheel angular velocity ωwhl from the motor angular velocity ωMtr converted into the angular velocity of the wheel 2 and the twist angular velocity Δω (S73 : operation as the subtraction unit 68).

[0096] Next, in the manual torque estimation routine S6C illustrated in Fig. 12, the controller 30C executes the total torque-twist torque subtraction routine S54. The total torque-twist torque subtraction routine S54 is executed in the block group 403C of the controller 30C illustrated in Fig. 11.

[0097] In the total torque-twist torque subtraction routine S54 illustrated in Fig. 15, the controller 30C first converts the wheel angular velocity ωwhl into the total torque value Ttotal_whl (S81: operation as the angular velocity-torque conversion unit 71). Next, the controller 30C performs the low pass filter processing on the twist torque value Ttor (S82: operation as the low pass filter 73) .

[0098] Next, the controller 30C calculates the difference Tdif_whl between the total torque value Ttotal_whl and the twist torque value Ttor, and performs the low pass filter processing on the difference Tdif_whl (S83: operation as the subtraction unit 75 and the low pass filter 77). The difference Tdif_whl calculated in this manner is outputted as the manual torque value Tin, and the manual torque estimation routine S6C is terminated.

[0099] In the third control example described above, since the twist torque value Ttor is calculated and then the manual torque value Tin is calculated by using the twist torque value Ttor, it is possible to estimate the manual torque in consideration of the twist.

[0100] Further, in the third control example, the difference obtained by subtracting the twist angular velocity Δω from the motor angular velocity ωMtr converted into the angular velocity of the wheel 2 is defined as the wheel angular velocity ωWhl, and the total torque value Ttotal_whl is calculated from the wheel angular velocity ωWhl. Accordingly, it is possible to calculate the total torque value Ttotal_whl more accurately.

[0101] Further, in the third control example, the twist angular velocity Δω is calculated based upon the twist torque value Ttor. Thus, it is possible to use the twist torque value Ttor not only for calculating the wheel angular velocity ωWhl by the block group 402C and but also for calculating the manual torque value Tin by the block group 403C.

[Other Embodiments]



[0102] Fig. 16 is a block diagram illustrating a functional configuration of a control device according to another embodiment. In the embodiment, the controllers 30R and 30L respectively determine motor output currents iMtrR and iMtrL while transmitting and receiving information to and from each other.

[0103] The right controller 30R includes a manual torque estimation unit 40R and a target current determination unit 50R. The manual torque estimation unit 40R calculates a manual torque value TinR of the right wheel 2R based upon a motor angular velocity ωMtrR of the right electric motor 21R and a motor output current iMtrR thereof. The target current determination unit 50R determines the motor output current iMtrR to be outputted to the right electric motor 21R based upon the manual torque value TinR from the manual torque estimation unit 40R and a manual torque value TinL from the left controller 30L.

[0104] In the same manner, the left controller 30L includes a manual torque estimation unit 40L and a target current determination unit 50L. The manual torque estimation unit 40L calculates the manual torque value TinL of the left wheel 2L based upon a motor angular velocity ωMtrL of the left electric motor 21L and a motor output current iMtrL thereof. The target current determination unit 50L determines the motor output current iMtrL to be outputted to the left electric motor 21L based upon the manual torque value TinL from the manual torque estimation unit 40L and the manual torque value TinR from the right controller 30R.

[0105] One of the manual torque estimation units 40A to 40C according to the first to third control examples can be applied to the manual torque estimation units 40R and 40L.

[0106] The target current determination units 50R and 50L have the same configuration. Hereinafter, the target current determination unit 50R of the right controller 30R will be representatively described, and the detailed description of the target current determination unit 50L of the left controller 30L will be omitted.

[0107] The target current determination unit 50R includes a motor torque conversion unit 51R, an addition unit 521R, a subtraction unit 523R, a straight-ahead assist ratio multiplication unit 531R, a turn assist ratio multiplication unit 533R, a subtraction unit 541R, a division unit 543R, and a torque-motor current conversion unit 55R.

[0108] The motor torque conversion unit 51R converts the manual torque value TinR from the manual torque estimation unit 40R into the torque acting on the electric motor 21 from the torque acting on the wheel 2. The motor torque conversion unit 51R outputs the converted manual torque value TinR to the addition unit 521R, the subtraction unit 523R, and the left controller 30L.

[0109] The addition unit 521R calculates an additional manual torque value Tstr by adding the manual torque value TinL from the left controller 30L to the manual torque value TinR from the motor torque conversion unit 51R, and the obtained value is outputted to the straight-ahead assist ratio multiplication unit 531R. The additional manual torque value Tstr represents a straight-ahead component of the manual torque inputted to the wheels 2R and 2L of the wheelchair 1.

[0110] The subtraction unit 523R calculates a subtraction manual torque value Trot by subtracting the manual torque value TinR from the motor torque conversion unit 51R from the manual torque value TinL from the left controller 30L, and the obtained value is outputted to the turn assist ratio multiplication unit 533R. The subtraction manual torque value Trot represents a turn component of the manual torque inputted to the wheels 2R and 2L of the wheelchair 1.

[0111] In the embodiment, since the clockwise rotation of the yaw axis is positive and the counterclockwise rotation thereof is negative, the manual torque value TinR of the right wheel 2R is subtracted from the manual torque value TinL of the left wheel 2L. The addition manual torque value Tstr and the subtraction manual torque value Trot are represented by the following Equation 1:



[0112] The straight-ahead assist ratio multiplication unit 531R multiplies the additional manual torque value Tstr from the addition unit 521R by a predetermined straight-ahead assist ratio αstr, and outputs the obtained value to the subtraction unit 541. The turn assist ratio multiplication unit 533R multiplies the subtraction manual torque value Trot from the subtraction unit 523R by a predetermined turn assist ratio αrot, and outputs the obtained value to the subtraction unit 541.

[0113] The subtraction unit 541R subtracts the value from the turn assist ratio multiplication unit 533R from the value from the straight-ahead assist ratio multiplication unit 531R, and outputs the obtained value to the division unit 543R. The division unit 543R divides the value from the subtraction unit 541R by 2, and outputs the obtained value to the torque-motor current conversion unit 55R as a right assist torque value TαR.

[0114] On the other hand, in the left controller 30L, an addition unit 542L adds a value from a turn assist ratio multiplication unit 533L to a value from a straight-ahead assist ratio multiplication unit 531L, and outputs the obtained value to a division unit 543L. The division unit 543L divides the value from the addition unit 542L by 2, and outputs the obtained value to a torque-motor current conversion unit 55L as a left assist torque value TαL.

[0115] The right assist torque value TαR and the left assist torque value TαL obtained in this manner are represented by the following Equation 2:



[0116] The torque-motor current conversion unit 55R calculates a target current iMtrR of the right electric motor 21R based upon the right assist torque value TαR from the division unit 543R. The right controller 30R controls the current to be outputted to the right electric motor 21R so that the target current iMtrR flows.

[0117] In the same manner, in the left controller 30L, the torque-motor current conversion unit 55L calculates a target current iMtrL of the left electric motor 21L based upon the left assist torque value TαL from the division unit 543L. The left controller 30L controls the current to be outputted to the left electric motor 21L so that the target current iMtrL flows.

[0118] In the embodiments described above, it is possible to control the straightness of the wheelchair 1 by the straight-ahead assist ratio αstr, and it is possible to control the turnability of the wheelchair 1 by the turn assist ratio αrot. For example, it is possible to improve the straightness of the wheelchair 1 by making the straight-ahead assist ratio αstr greater than the turn assist ratio αrot. Further, it is possible to improve the turnability of the wheelchair 1 by making the turn assist ratio αrot greater than the turn assist ratio αrot.

[0119] Hereinabove, the embodiments of the present invention are descried, but the present invention is not limited to the above-described embodiments, and it goes without saying that various modifications can be implemented by those skilled in the art.

Reference Signs List



[0120] 

1: power assist wheelchair

2: wheel

3: vehicle body frame

4: caster

5: seat

6: back support

7: hand grip

9: footrest

13: hand rim

21: electric motor

22: battery

23: cable

24: encoder

25: hub

26: outer peripheral part

27: spoke

28: connection pipe

30: controller

40: manual torque estimation unit

41, 42: angular velocity-torque conversion unit

43: motor current-torque conversion unit

44: low pass filter

45: subtraction unit

47: wheel torque conversion unit

49: low pass filter

50: target current determination unit

51: motor torque conversion unit

53: assist ratio multiplication unit

55: torque-motor current conversion unit

521: addition unit

523: subtraction unit

531: straight-ahead assist ratio multiplication unit

533: turn assist ratio multiplication unit

541: subtraction unit

542: addition unit

543: division unit

61: wheel angular velocity conversion unit

62: low pass filter

64: twist angle conversion unit

65: twist angular velocity conversion unit

66: low pass filter

68: subtraction unit

71: angular velocity-torque conversion unit

73: low pass filter

75: subtraction unit

77: low pass filter




Claims

1. A power assist wheelchair, comprising:

a wheel;

an electric motor that drives the wheel;

an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor; and

a control device that controls the electric motor, wherein the control device includes:

a total torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder;

an assist torque value calculation unit configured to calculate an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor;

a manual torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and

a target current determination unit configured to determine a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value.


 
2. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 1, wherein
the total torque value and the assist torque value are calculated as torque acting on an output shaft of the electric motor.
 
3. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 1, wherein
the total torque value and the assist torque value are calculated as torque acting on the wheel.
 
4. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 1, wherein
the manual torque is calculated as torque acting on the wheel.
 
5. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 4, wherein
the target current determination unit calculates a target torque value of the electric motor by multiplying the manual torque value converted from the torque acting on the wheel into the torque acting on the output shaft of the electric motor by a predetermined assist ratio.
 
6. A power assist wheelchair, comprising:

a wheel;

an electric motor that drives the wheel;

an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor; and

a control device that controls the electric motor, wherein

the control device includes:

a total torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a total torque value based upon a detection signal of the encoder;

a twist torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a twist torque value representing torque causing twist of the wheel with respect to an axle;

a manual torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the twist torque value from the total torque value; and

a target current determination unit configured to determine a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value.


 
7. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 6, wherein
the total torque value calculation unit calculates the total torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting a twist angular velocity value representing an angular velocity of the twist from an angular velocity value calculated based upon the detection signal of the encoder.
 
8. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 7, wherein
the twist angular velocity value is calculated based upon the twist torque value.
 
9. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 6, wherein
the twist torque value calculation unit calculates the twist torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting an assist torque value calculated based upon an output current of the electric motor from a torque value calculated based upon the detection signal of the encoder.
 
10. A power assist wheelchair, comprising:

first and second wheels separated from each other in the vehicle width direction;

a first electric motor that drives the first wheel;

a first encoder that detects rotation of the first electric motor;

a second electric motor that drives the second wheel;

a second encoder that detects rotation of the second electric motor; and

a control device that controls the first and second electric motors, wherein

the control device includes:

a first total torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a first total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the first encoder;

a first assist torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a first assist torque value based upon an output current of the first electric motor;

a first manual torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a first manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the first assist torque value from the first total torque value;

a first target current determination unit configured to determine a target current of the first electric motor based upon the first manual torque value;

a second total torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a second total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the second encoder;

a second assist torque value calculating unit configured to calculate a second assist torque value based upon an output current of the second electric motor;

a second manual torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a second manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the second assist torque value from the second total torque value; and

a second target current determination unit configured to determine a target current of the second electric motor based upon the second manual torque value.


 
11. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 10, wherein

the first target current determination unit determines the target current of the first electric motor based upon the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value, and

the second target current determination unit determines the target current of the second electric motor based upon the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value.


 
12. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 11, wherein
the first and second target current determination units respectively calculate the target currents of the first and second electric motors based upon a value obtained by multiplying the sum of the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined straight-ahead assist ratio.
 
13. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 11, wherein
the first and second target current determination units respectively calculate the target currents of the first and second electric motors based upon a value obtained by multiplying a difference between the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined turn assist ratio.
 
14. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 11, wherein
the first and second target current determination units respectively calculate the target currents of the first and second electric motors based upon a value obtained by multiplying the sum of the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined straight-ahead assist ratio, and a value obtained by multiplying a difference between the first manual torque value and the second manual torque value by a predetermined turn assist ratio.
 
15. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 14, wherein
the straight-ahead assist ratio is greater than the turn assist ratio.
 
16. The power assist wheelchair according to claim 14, wherein
the turn assist ratio is greater than the straight-ahead assist ratio.
 
17. A power assist unit for a wheelchair, comprising:

a wheel;

an electric motor that drives the wheel;

an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor; and

a control device that controls the electric motor, wherein

the control device includes:

a total torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder;

an assist torque value calculation unit configured to calculate an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor;

a manual torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and

a target current determination unit configured to determine a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value.


 
18. A control device for a power assist wheelchair including a wheel, an electric motor that drives the wheel, and an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor, the device comprising:

a total torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder;

an assist torque value calculation unit configured to calculate an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor;

a manual torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and

a target current determination unit configured to determine a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value.


 
19. A control method for a power assist wheelchair including a wheel, an electric motor that drives the wheel, and an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor, the method comprising:

calculating a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder;

calculating an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor;

calculating a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and

determining a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value.


 
20. A program for causing a computer of a control device for a power assist wheelchair including a wheel, an electric motor that drives the wheel, and an encoder that detects rotation of the electric motor to function as
a total torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a total torque value based upon only a detection signal of the encoder;
an assist torque value calculation unit configured to calculate an assist torque value based upon an output current of the electric motor;
a manual torque value calculation unit configured to calculate a manual torque value based upon a difference obtained by subtracting the assist torque value from the total torque value; and
a target current determination unit configured to determine a target current of the electric motor based upon the manual torque value.
 




Drawing


























































REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description