(19)
(11)EP 3 720 760 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
01.12.2021 Bulletin 2021/48

(21)Application number: 18796404.4

(22)Date of filing:  26.10.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B62D 11/08(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
B62D 11/08
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2018/079456
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/110197 (13.06.2019 Gazette  2019/24)

(54)

UTILITY VEHICLE BRAKING

BREMSUNG EINES NUTZFAHRZEUGS

FREINAGE DE VÉHICULE UTILITAIRE


(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

(30)Priority: 08.12.2017 GB 201720470

(43)Date of publication of application:
14.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/42

(73)Proprietor: AGCO International GmbH
8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall (CH)

(72)Inventor:
  • BRENNINGER, Martin
    87616 Marktoberdorf (DE)

(74)Representative: AGCO Intellectual Property Department 
AGCO Limited Abbey Park Stoneleigh
Kenilworth CV8 2TQ
Kenilworth CV8 2TQ (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 896 540
WO-A1-2017/063864
GB-A- 2 466 066
WO-A1-2014/096446
DE-U1- 9 204 417
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to braking systems for utility vehicles, particularly self-propelled four-wheel drive agricultural machines, and more particularly to such systems where controlled braking is applied to the inner wheels of a turning vehicle in order to reduce turning radius.

    [0002] With the growing size of agricultural machinery, the net power of agricultural machines such as tractors is also increasing. This also results in an increase in tyre size to transfer the power to the ground. The increasing tyre size also helps to reduce soil compaction which has negative impact on crop growth. However, the increased tyre size has the result that, when the vehicle is turning, parts of the tyres move towards the area where the engine is installed (engine periphery). Therefore there is a limitation in steering angle which impacts the steering capability in terms of turning radius, but the minimum turning radius is very important for manoeuvrability (e.g. when turning on a headland in a field). In addition, stricter exhaust gas emission requirements result in more installation space being required in the front area (e.g. for cooling systems or exhaust emission treatment systems), especially in the engine periphery penetrated by the tyres during steering. Enlarging the installation space in this area, especially the width transverse to driving direction, limits the steering angle of the tractor. A narrow track width also limits the steering angle which is an issue for e.g. the US market which has a strong demand for narrow-tracked tractors so that the tyres are able to move along narrow crop rows.

    [0003] To mitigate the aforementioned problems it is known to have steering brake system. An example of a brake arrangement for steering braking of a utility vehicle is described in commonly-assigned European patent application EP-A-2896540. The vehicle has a cardan brake acting on the front axle, and separate left and right service brakes on the rear wheels. The left rear service brake is activated by movement of a first brake lever and the right rear service brake is activated by movement of a second brake lever. The left and right rear service brakes and the cardan brake are activated together by movement of both brake levers. To apply steering braking, only one of the brake levers is applied.

    [0004] Utility vehicles intended for operation at relatively higher speeds are normally provided with two separate braking circuits and service brakes on each axle, whereby each circuit is assigned to one axle (in cars, the split is more commonly transverse). In consequence, for a utility vehicle the service brake force ratio for front and rear axle is thereby 50/50 which means that each axle is provided with only 50% of the total available braking force under normal operation. In the case of steering braking only with the rear axle (as in EP-A-2896540 above), the braking of only one side results in only half of the rear axle capacity being used, so only 25% of the total available braking force is applied. Compared to vehicles without front service brakes (which provide 100% of the steering force on the rear axle and 50% on one side during steering braking) this results in a major disadvantage of insufficient steering brake capability.

    [0005] The main effect used during steering braking is that the braking of the rear axle on one side results in that the vehicle being virtually rotated about a vertical axis towards the inner curve side (similar to a track type tractor during differential steering). The front of the tractor is thereby moved out of the track which is given by the Ackermann-steering-track. The high weight of modern high horse power tractors is also present at the front and increases the front axle load. In combination, with the bigger wheel sizes on all axles, it is getting increasingly difficult to move the inner front wheel inwards during steering braking.

    [0006] Newly developed transmission systems, such as that described in applicant's pending European patent application EP-A-2935948, comprise a continuously variable transmission has two branches (one mechanical and one hydrostatic) providing tractive power from the engine to the driven wheels. The mechanical branch uses gears to provide a mechanical drive between the engine and the wheels. The hydrostatic branch uses a hydraulic pump (driven by the engine) to power two hydraulic motors which in turn drive the wheels. By varying the ratio of power transmitted through the mechanical and hydrostatic branches the speed and torque delivered to the driven wheels can be matched to an optimal engine speed whilst maintaining a constant drive between the engine and the driven wheels. The arrangement of EP-A- 2935948 has a first hydraulic motor is assigned to drive the rear axle and the respective rear wheels while the second hydraulic motor is assigned to drive the front axle and the respective front wheels. Furthermore a clutch is provided so that the torque and/or wheel velocity/rotational speed delivered by first hydraulic motor to drive rear axle and second hydraulic motor to drive front axle can be adjusted. This arrangement provides a major challenge in terms of steering braking that compared to formerly common drivelines (wherein a clutch was provided to disconnect the front axle from tractive power), as the front wheels are permanently driven at low vehicle speed at which also steering braking is used.

    [0007] Applicant's published patent application WO 2017 063864 A1 discloses a driveline for a four-wheel drive utility vehicle which delivers torque to a rear axle via a first motor and to a front axle via a second motor. A controlled clutch arrangement is operable when engaged to couple the output of the first and second motors to vary the distribution of delivered torque between the front and rear axles.

    [0008] In accordance with a first aspect of the invention there is provided a method of brake steering in a four-wheel drive utility vehicle having a driven front axle carrying at least two front wheels, a driven rear axle carrying at least two rear wheels, a powertrain delivering torque to the rear axle via a first motor and to the front axle via a second motor, a controlled clutch arrangement operable when engaged to couple the output of the first and second motors to vary the distribution of delivered torque between the front and rear axles, and independently operable service brakes on each of the front and rear wheels, the method comprising;

    determining a difference in wheel velocity between front and rear wheels;

    comparing the difference to a threshold value and, when exceeded, automatically engaging the controlled clutch arrangement;

    with the vehicle travelling a substantially straight path, applying a first level of the threshold value;

    on the vehicle entering a driven turn, applying a second level of the threshold value higher than the first;

    on the vehicle entering a braking turn, applying the service brakes of the front and rear wheels on the inside of the turn and applying a third level of the threshold value higher than the second.



    [0009] The different levels of the threshold may be determined by the vehicle geometry (wheelbase, track width, maximum steering angle) and may be adaptively varied as the geometry changes e.g. through the use of stub axles altering track width, or different tyre sizes affecting maximum steering angle. As will be described in further detail below, it is preferred to have the first and second motors driving the respective axles independently (to reduce mechanical stress in the driveline) but the automatic engagement of the clutch arrangement for a given disparity in front/rear wheel velocity avoids problems if either of the front or the rear wheels starts to skid. Applying the different levels of threshold enables such skid protection to be triggered at an appropriate point depending on whether the vehicle is driving straight, driving a curved path, or performing a braking turn.

    [0010] Where the vehicle is additionally provided with independently-operable parking brakes on each of the rear wheels the method may further comprise, on entering a turn applying also, and to a predetermined level of braking force, the parking brake on the rear wheel on the inside of the turn. Suitably, the level of parking brake braking force applied to a rear wheel on entering a turn is substantially proportional to the level of service brake braking force applied to the same wheel.

    [0011] Preferably, the level of service brake braking force applied during a turn may be determined by the level of pressure exerted by a user of the vehicle on a brake control of the vehicle.

    [0012] Also in accordance with the present invention there is provided a driveline for a four-wheel drive utility vehicle comprising:

    a driven front axle carrying at least two front wheels;

    a driven rear axle carrying at least two rear wheels;

    a powertrain delivering torque to the rear axle via a first motor and to the front axle via a second motor;

    a controlled clutch arrangement operable when engaged to couple the outputs of the first and second motors to vary the distribution of delivered torque between the front and rear axles;

    independently operable service brakes on each of the front and rear wheels;

    first and second sensors respectively disposed to determine front and rear wheel velocity;

    a turn sensor disposed to measure a turning angle of the vehicle;

    data storage holding data defining first, second and third levels of a threshold value; and

    a control system coupled with the powertrain, sensors, data storage, clutch arrangement and service brakes, and configured to:

    determine a difference in wheel velocity between front and rear wheels from the first and second sensors;

    compare the difference to the threshold value and, when exceeded, automatically engage the controlled clutch arrangement;

    determine from the turn sensor when the vehicle travels a substantially straight path, and apply the first level of the threshold value;

    determine from the turn sensor when the vehicle enters a driven turn, and apply the second level of the threshold value, which second level is higher than the first; and

    determine at least partly from the turn sensor when the vehicle enters a braking turn, apply the service brakes of the front and rear wheels on the inside of the turn and apply the third level of the threshold value, which third level is higher than the second.



    [0013] Preferably the driveline further comprises independently-operable parking brakes on the rear wheels, with the control system being configured on detecting that the vehicle is entering a turn to apply also, and to a predetermined level of braking force, the parking brake on the rear wheel on the inside of the turn, suitably with a level of parking brake braking force that is substantially proportional to the level of service brake braking force applied to the same wheel.

    [0014] Further features of the driveline are recited in the attached claims, to which attention is now directed, and which claims define the invention.

    [0015] Further in accordance with the present invention there is provided a utility vehicle including a driveline as set forth above. The utility vehicle may further comprise a geographical positioning system coupled with the control system, with the control system being configured to not implement the above-recited method of brake steering on determination that the vehicle is outside of a predetermined geographical area.

    [0016] Further advantages of the invention will become apparent from reading the following description of specific embodiments with reference to the appended drawings in which:-

    Figure 1 is a representation of a utility vehicle, in the form of a tractor, suitably provided with a braking system embodying the present invention;

    Figure 2 is a schematic representation of the driveline arrangement of the tractor of Figure 1;

    Figure 3 is a schematic circuit diagram of a first embodiment of a pneumatically operable brake system for the tractor of Figure 1;

    Figure 4 is a schematic circuit diagram of a further embodiment of a pneumatically operable brake system for the tractor of Figure 1;

    Figure 5 represents a method of brake steering as may be effected by the tractor of Figure 1; and

    Figure 6 represents a relationship between applied service and park brake forces.



    [0017] Referring to Figure 1, a utility vehicle in the form of a tractor 10 is shown having a cab 12 and an engine compartment 14. A chassis 16 which is partly visible connects a front wheel suspension and steering assembly (indicated generally at 18) and a rear axle assembly (indicated generally at 20). A vehicle control system (represented schematically at 62) is coupled to receive data from a number of sensors 11: such data may include (but is not limited to):
    • gross weight of the vehicle;
    • amount of front and/or rear ballasting carried by the vehicle;
    • weighting information pertaining to a towed or carried implement;
    • extent of measured wheel-slip for one or more wheels of the vehicle;
    • tyre pressure in one or more tyres on respective wheels of the vehicle;
    • angle of turn directed by a user of the vehicle;
    • current speed of the vehicle;
    • ambient conditions external to the vehicle.


    [0018] Further inputs to the control system 62 may come from a user-operable input device such as a touchscreen display and input device 13 positioned in the vehicle cab 12, and a geographical positioning system 15 for the vehicle.

    [0019] Referring additionally to the driveline arrangement of Figure 2, a prime mover such as an internal combustion engine 22 drives an input shaft 24 of a gearbox/transmission unit 26 via a flywheel 28. The transmission 26 drives front and rear output (axle drive) shafts 32, 30 to provide propulsive drive to the respective axle assemblies 18, 20. In addition to providing propulsive drive, the transmission 26 also provides drive to a rear power take-off drive shaft 64.

    [0020] The transmission input shaft 24 is connected at its inboard end to a planetary gear assembly indicated generally at 148. The purpose of the planetary gear assembly 148 is to split the torque provided by the input shaft 24 between a mechanical branch indicated generally at 150 and a hydrostatic branch indicated generally at 152. On the opposite side of the planetary gear assembly to the input shaft 24 is the rear power take off shaft 64.

    [0021] The hydrostatic branch 152 drives a hydraulic pump 140. The mechanical branch 150 is connected to the front axle drive shaft 32 and rear axle drive shaft 30 as follows. Torque is transmitted from the mechanical branch 150 of the planetary gear assembly 148 to the rear axle drive shaft 30 via a rear axle gear 154. Mounted on the same shaft as the rear axle drive gear 154 is an intermediary gear 156 which in turn drives a front axle drive gear 158 which selectively drives the front axle drive shaft 32. A first clutch 160 is provided to selectively engage and disengage the front axle drive shaft 32 from the rear axle drive shaft 30 or to control the ratio of torque distribution between the two axles. This allows grip to be optimised dependant on the ground conditions.

    [0022] In addition to the mechanical drive path described above, the hydraulic pump 140 is hydraulically connected (not shown in Figure 2 for clarity) to a first hydraulic motor 142 which is driveably connected to the rear axle drive shaft 30 in order to provide hydraulic drive to the rear wheels. The hydraulic pump 140 is also connected in parallel to a second hydraulic motor 144 in order to provide hydraulic drive to the front axle drive shaft 32 as follows. The motor 144 is driveably connected to the front axle drive shaft 32 via first and second hydraulic motor gears 162, 164. A second clutch 166 allows the second hydraulic motor 144 to be selectively engaged and disengaged from the front axle drive shaft 32. This allows hydraulic drive to be provided to the front axle drive shaft 32 by the second hydraulic motor 144 in addition to, or alternatively to, the drive delivered to the front axle drive shaft 32 from the rear axle drive shaft 30 via the intermediary and front axle drive gears 156, 158, depending on the extent of engagement of the first clutch 160.

    [0023] Second hydraulic motor 144 is connected to front axle drive shaft 32 by gears 162, 164 having a high transmission ratio. This allows motor 144 to provide high torque at a limited, lower range of vehicle speeds. Consequently, at higher vehicle speeds, the motor 144 may be disconnected from the driveline via second clutch 166. Due to the layout, the first hydraulic motor 142 is provided for delivering lower torque but over the full range of vehicle speeds. However, in combination, both motors 142, 144 enable the transmission to provide a full transmission output power with variable torque, variable vehicle speed and variable driving direction over a full range of vehicle speeds.

    [0024] Rear axle drive output shaft 30 drives the vehicle rear axle left and right driveshafts 34L, 34R via rear axle differential 36. Note the designations "front", "rear", "left" and "right" as used herein are taken from the point of view of a user/driver sat facing forward in the cab 12. The rear axle assembly 20 further comprises left and right rear axle service brakes 38L, 38R (with respective park brakes 40L, 40R), left and right rear axle final drives 42L, 42R, and left and right rear wheels 44L, 44R. As shown, the service and park brakes may share a common set of brake disks 39L, 39R, with the service brake being spring-biased to the open position and the park brake spring-biased to the closed position. Such an arrangement is described in e.g. German utility model DE9204417U1.

    [0025] In like manner, front axle drive output shaft 32 drives the vehicle front axle left and right driveshafts 46L, 46R via cardan shaft 48 and front axle differential 50. The front axle assembly 18 further comprises left and right front axle service brakes 52L, 52R, left and right front axle final drives 54L, 54R, and left and right front wheels 56L, 56R. The controlled clutch arrangement, comprising the first and second clutches 160, 166 under the direction of the vehicle control system 62 (described further below), the drive to the vehicle front wheels 56L, 56R may be selectively engaged or disengaged, or engaged with a controllably variable degree of clutch slippage to enable the engine output torque delivered to the axle assemblies 18, 20 to be controllably varied.

    [0026] The first clutch 160 is also provided to control the wheel velocity or rotational speeds of the axle assemblies 18, 20 to avoid malfunction of the transmission 26. With reference to Figure 1, the wheel velocity w is the velocity of a wheel in the contact point with the ground G and along the ground (radially). Considering a known wheel diameter, the rotational speed n of the wheel can be calculated and based on that the wheel velocity w can be determined by measuring the rotational speed n at any shaft in the driveline which is connected via a fixed, constant ratio to one of the wheel axles 18, 20. If the vehicle is equipped with different tyre sizes (requiring an overall gear ratio between front axle and rear axle, the wheel velocity wF (for front axle) and wR (for rear axle) should be equal under ideal conditions while due to the diverging tyre diameter, rotational speed nF of front axle and nR of rear axle are different. But as the respective gear ratios in the driveline from a transmission 26 to a respective front or rear axle 18, 20 are known, both rotational speeds nF, nR and also wF, wR can be monitored by measuring the rotational speed n at any shaft in the driveline which is connected to the respective wheel axles 18, 20.

    [0027] Control system 62 is permanently monitoring the signals coming from speed sensors S1 and S2. Sensor S1 is connected to the rear axle drive shaft 30 with a fixed ratio so that sensor S1 provides a signal indicative of the rotational speed of rear axle drive shaft 30 (referred to as n1) , rear axle left and right driveshafts 34L, 34R and thereby left and right rear wheels 44L, 44R. Sensor S2 is connected to the front axle drive shaft 32 with a fixed ratio so that sensor S2 provides a signal indicative of the rotational speed of front axle drive shaft 32 (referred to as n2), front axle left and right drive shafts 46L, 46R and thereby left and right front wheels 56L, 56R.

    [0028] The necessity of monitoring speeds n1 and n2 in connection with the special transmission design described in applicant's pending European patent application EP-A- 2935948 ,which corresponds to WO-A-2014/096446, is explained with reference to Figures 1 and 2. The pump 140, the first and second motors 142, 144 are provided with adjustment means (not shown), the adjustment means being operable by an actuator to vary the operating angle of the first and second motors 142,144, respectively. Advantageously, the provision of a separate adjustment means for each of the motors 142,144 allows the speed and torque output of the motors to be independently and flexibly controlled. This offers significant advantages in terms of vehicle control and efficiency. For example, different pivot angles can be provided for each motor allowing one motor can be pivoted to zero displacement (represented by a pivot angle of 0 degrees or 45 degrees, depending on specification) while the torque or speed output of the other motor is further adjusted. Furthermore, as one motor can be pivoted to zero displacement while the second motor is at a displacement above zero, the first motor can be disconnected by clutch 166. Accordingly, the control system 62, and particularly the relationship between the displacement of first and second motor 142, 144, can be adapted. This allows the transmission system to be readily configured for different applications. It must be understood that the adjustment means is controlled depending on the vehicle speed v and that the adjustment means is designed so that for each vehicle speed v, a displacement (pivot angle) for pump 140, first and second motor 142, 144 is predetermined. This means that at e.g. a vehicle speed of say 8 kph (kilometre per hour) pump 140, first and second motor 142, 144 are adjusted to first set of displacements while at a speed say 25 kph, pump 140, first and second motor 142, 144 are adjusted to second set of displacements. For each vehicle speed v a predetermined displacement for pump 140, first and second motor 142, 144 is assigned which cannot be adapted in relation to each other.

    [0029] When the tractor 10 is driven at constant vehicle speed v over ground G, the wheel velocity for front and rear axle wF and wR should be the same if wheel-slip is equal for both axles (in simple terms, the ground G under the wheels shows the same condition). A wheel-slip of 10% (which is typical for soft ground like fields) would mean that the wheel velocity for front and rear axle wF and wR is 10% higher than the vehicle speed.

    [0030] Looking now at the rotational speed of the axles of a tractor with both front axle and rear axle being equipped with tyres of the same size (in terms of the outer diameter), the rotational speed nF and nR is equal, so the rotational speed n1 determined by sensor S1 and the rotational speed n2 determined by sensor S2 are also equal. If a tractor with different tyre sizes (in terms of the outer diameter) is regarded, rotational speed nF and nR would be different due to overall gear ratio between front axle and rear axle. So a comparison of the rotational speeds n1 and n2 to arrive at the deviation/difference in wheel velocity or rotational speed of front and rear axle wF and wR would require inclusion of the overall gear ratio. As this is standard engineering knowledge, the following description considers equal tyre sizes for both axles 18, 20 so that the overall gear ratio need not be applied and considered.

    [0031] Based on that, some operating conditions of the tractor 10 are now described in detail:

    Driving straight ahead with both axles on same ground:



    [0032] When driving straight ahead, the wheel velocity wF and wR and (for equal tyre sizes) rotational speed nF and nR of front and rear axle 18, 20 should be equal if both axles drive on similar ground G. In this condition the clutch 160 is disengaged so that first hydraulic motor 142 is driving the rear axle 20 via rear axle drive shaft 30 without any connection to front axle drive shaft 32 which is driven by second motor 144 to drive front axle 18 (when clutch 166 is engaged). This condition is preferred as independent drive for the axles is provided and torsional stresses in the driveline can be avoided. However, there are situations where the engagement of clutch 160 is advantageous.

    Driving straight ahead with both axles on different ground:



    [0033] If the front axle 18 or one wheel 56L, 56R of the front axle 18 is now driving on sandy or frozen ground (with the rear axle still driving on hard soil) with the clutch 160 disengaged, the front axle would start spinning (as the torque supplied cannot be transferred to the ground). In terms of the wheel velocity, this means that the wheel velocity wF/ rotational speed nF of the front axle 18 would increase considerably compared to the wheel velocity wR/ rotational speed nR of the rear axle or, in other words, the wheel velocity difference Dw=wF-wR or Dn=nF-nR (being ideally zero) would increase. As a consequence, the fluid supplied by pump 140 would be completely consumed by second hydraulic motor 144 (due to missing resistance /torque support) so that first hydraulic motor 142 would stand still. In other words, when looking at the pressure in the supply circuit for pump 140, and first and second motors 142, 144, due to the missing torque support at second motor 144, the oil would flow at a minimal pressure level (nearly pressureless) in second motor 144 assigned to front axle 18. As both motors 142, 144 are connected in the same hydraulic circuit (in parallel), the same minimal pressure level would impinge first motor 142 assigned to rear axle 20. As a result first motor 142 cannot supply torque. With front axle 18 spinning on sandy or iced ground and rear axle 20 standing still, the tractor would just slow down and stop. Changing the vehicle speed to adjust speeds and torque supplied by motors 142, 144, may help to a certain degree but not on ground which is glassy frozen. Furthermore reducing speed is not advantageous during agricultural work (e.g. ploughing or seeding) as the work result may suffer.

    [0034] Opening clutch 166 without second motor 144 adjusted to zero displacement would have the same result. This condition is only intended for higher speeds at which the adjustment means changes second motor 144 to zero displacement and the clutch 166 is disengaged while first motor 142 is adjusted to displacement above zero.

    [0035] To avoid the unintended stand still of the tractor on sandy or iced ground, the control unit 62 is permanently adjusting the engagement of the clutch 160 as explained below:

    During straight ahead drive



    [0036] The monitoring process includes that the determined rotational speeds of sensors S1 and S2, are permanently compared to detect the wheel velocity difference/rotational speed difference. If during straight ahead driving the value of the wheel velocity difference/rotational speed difference exceeds a first wheel velocity difference threshold value say 5% (meaning that wheel velocity wF is 5% higher than wheel velocity wR) the control unit controllably engages clutch 166 until the first wheel velocity difference threshold value is undercut again. If the front axle spins on a sandy surface, this would result in that the clutch is further engaged so that the second motor 144 is drivingly connected to the rear axle which can support the torque to avoid spinning. This would also keep first motor under supply to drive the rear axle. The vehicle would not be forced into stand still then. This method keeps independent drive of both axles 18, 20 upheld most of the time to avoid torsional stresses in the driveline.

    During turning



    [0037] During a driven turn (determined by steering sensor S3), a second wheel velocity difference threshold value is considered. Based on the fact that during a turn, due to Ackermann steering constraints, the steered front wheels roll on a greater curve radius (path) so that they have to speed up to pass the curved path at the same time compared to the rear wheels. So during turning, the clutch control unit 62 would consider a second wheel velocity difference threshold value which may be 15 to 20%. This higher level for the velocity difference threshold enables the vehicle to pass the curve but the spinning prevention is still active, so that in the case when the front wheels drive via icy surface in the curve, the system can still react. Furthermore, the drag capability (that the front wheels support the turn)

    During steering braking



    [0038] During a braking turn (determined by steering sensor S3 and the activation of the steering brake), a third wheel velocity difference threshold value_is considered. In case of steering braking, the inner steered wheel is braked while the steered outer wheel should support the steering brake by speeding up to further drag the vehicle into the curve.

    [0039] So during turning, the clutch control unit 62 would consider a third wheel velocity difference threshold value which may be 30%. This enables that the vehicle can pass the curve and steering brake but the spinning prevention is still active, so that in the case when the front wheels drive via icy surface in the curve, the system can still react

    [0040] The values for second wheel velocity difference threshold and_third wheel velocity difference threshold value thereby depend on the geometry of the vehicle (wheel distance or wheelbase, maximum steering angle α, track width) as these parameters influence the path driven during a turn which themselves influence the wheel speed differences which must be allowed:
    • For a vehicle with a smaller wheel distance (distance between the axles in driving direction) the threshold value may be reduced (assuming that no other geometry changes).
    • For a vehicle with a smaller track width (distance between wheels of an axle transverse to driving direction) the threshold value may be reduced (assuming that no other geometry changes).
    • For a vehicle with a reduced maximum steering angle α the threshold value may be reduced (assuming that no other geometry changes)


    [0041] While the wheel distance may not be easily changed on a vehicle, the track width can be adapted with special axle arrangements (known as stub axles in the USA) so that also the steering angle may be limited. Alternately, the steering angle may be limited by attaching a front loader. The values for the velocity difference thresholds, which are suitably held in a data storage device 62a of the control system 62, may be adapted by the driver via the input device 13, or by the control system 62 recognizing these configurations.

    [0042] Figure 3 shows a schematic circuit diagram of a pneumatically operable brake system for the tractor 10 of Figure 1. A first brake circuit C1 is provided for activating left and right rear service brakes 38L, 38R individually for application to left and right rear wheels 44L, 44R respectively. This first brake circuit C1 comprises a first pressure control valve 70 and supply lines L3, L3a, L3b, L4, L4a and L4b. Left and right rear service brakes 38L, 38R are operated by respective left and right associated brake relay valves 72L, 72R. Lines L3a and L3b are linked by a shuttle valve 74 which passes the greater pressure in either of the lines to proportional valve 76 in the control circuit for rear park brakes 40L, 40R (described below).

    [0043] A second brake circuit C2 is provided for activating left and right front service brakes 52L, 52R individually for application to left and right front wheels 56L, 56R respectively. This second brake circuit C2 comprises a second pressure control valve 78 and supply lines L1, L1a, L1b, L2, L2a and L2b. Left and right front service brakes 52L, 52R are operated by respective left and right associated brake relay valves 80L, 80R.

    [0044] The service brakes 38L, 38R, 52L, 52R are activated by the driver by two levers, such as two foot pedals 82L, 82R. Left or first foot pedal 82L, when pressed opens a left rear brake valve 84L and a left front brake valve 86L. Right or second foot pedal 82R when pressed opens a right rear brake valve 84R and a right front brake valve 86R. Pedals 82L, 82R will activate a piston or pistons 88 of a cylinder or cylinders (not shown) which activate the first and second pressure control valves 70, 78. Movement of either or both of the pedals 82L, 82R will activate both of the first and second pressure control valves 70, 78.

    [0045] The service brakes 38L, 38R, 52L, 52R are connected to a fluid supply 90 such as a compressor, or air chamber via their respective brake relay valves 72L, 72R, 80L, 80R. When neither pedal 82L nor pedal 82R is pressed, the brake relay valves 72L, 72R, 80L, 80R are in a closed position which means that the brakes 38L, 38R, 52L, 52R are not activated. Each brake circuit C1, C2 is connected to a separate fluid reservoir of the fluid supply 90. The first brake circuit C1 including first control valve 70 is connected to fluid supply 90a, and the second brake circuit C2 including second control valve 78 is connected to fluid supply 90b.

    [0046] The first control valve 70 switches left associated rear brake valve 72L, or right associated rear brake valve 72R, or both of them, to an open position via left and/or right brake valves 84L, 84R. When the associated rear brake valve 84L, 84R is open, the respective rear service brake 38L, 38R is activated. Associated rear brake valves 84L, 84R are connected in parallel.

    [0047] The second control valve 78 switches left associated front brake valve 80L, or right associated front brake valve 80R, or both of them, to an open position via left and/or right brake valves 86L, 86R. When the associated front brake valve 86L, 86R is open, the respective front service brake 52L, 52R is activated. Associated front brake valves 86L, 86R are connected in parallel.

    [0048] When neither of the pedals 82L, 82R is moved, the front and rear brake valves 86L, 86R, 84L, 84R are biased to a closed position.

    [0049] During road operation, legal regulations require simultaneous braking on both sides. Therefore, the two foot pedals 82L, 82R must be connected by a locking means (not shown) so that only simultaneous movement is possible. This locking means can be provided as a pin which engages through the two foot pedals 82L, 82R and which is operated by the driver. Alternatively, the locking means may be engaged automatically, e.g. above a certain vehicle speed. Such locking means are described in applicant's published patent application WO2010/066864.

    [0050] When both foot pedals 82L, 82R are pressed together, piston 88 activates first and second control valves 70, 78 and at the same time the front and rear brake valves 86L, 86R, 84L, 84R are opened. Air flows from the fluid supply 90b, along line L1, through second control valve 78, along line L2 through the front brake valves 86L, 86R and through to the respective front brake valves 80L, 80R which switches valves 80L, 80R to an open position. Air can then flow from the fluid supply 90b along line L1 and parallel lines L1a and L1b to the respective front service brakes 52L, 52R. At the same time, air also flows from the fluid supply 90a, along line L4 through first control valve 70, along line L3 through left and right brake valves 84L, 84R and along lines L3a, L3b through to associated brake relay valves 72L, 72R which switch valves 72L, 72R to an open position. Air can then flow from air supply 90a through line L4, through lines L4a and L4b to activate rear service brakes 38L, 38R.

    [0051] If the driver wishes to apply the brakes on one side only, for example the left front service brake 52L and left rear service brake 38L to help him steer left around a bend, the driver pushes the left foot pedal 82L only, after disengaging the above-mentioned locking means connecting the two foot pedals 82L, 82R during road operation.

    [0052] The rear park brakes 40L, 40R are controlled by a park brake control circuit C3 connected to a further separate reservoir 90c of fluid supply 90. In conventional operation, a park brake control valve 92, activated by a hand brake lever, is operable to connect the fluid supply, via a relay valve 94 and respective left and right rear solenoid valves 96L, 96R, to release the park brakes 40L, 40R (and dosing park brake force). The solenoid valves 96L, 96R are spring biased to the operating position shown in which the output of relay valve 94 is connected to the park brakes 40L, 40R.

    [0053] To enhance the brake steering operation, the park brakes 40L, 40R are used to supplement the braking pressure applied by the rear service brakes 38L, 38R. The fluid supply 90 from reservoir 90c is connected as a further input to proportional valve 76 (along with the output from shuttle valve 74 in circuit C1) with the proportional valve out put on line L5 being connected to the left and right rear solenoid valves 96L, 96R. Operating one of the rear solenoid valves (e.g. left rear solenoid valve 96L) disconnects the respective park brake 40L from the output of relay valve 94 and instead connects it to the output of proportional valve 76 on line L5. The effect of the proportional valve 76 is to reduce the opening pressure applied to the park brake 40L as the closure pressure on the corresponding service brake 38L is increased (So fluid pressure applied on the park brake is substantially inversely proportional to that applied on the service brake) such that the braking force applied by the park brake is substantially proportional to that applied by the service brake. This proportional application of the park brake during brake steering reduces the ground damage that may otherwise occur if maximum park brake force were applied regardless of service braking force (as would be the case with the above-mentioned combined park and service brake arrangement of DE9204417U1).

    [0054] Figure 4 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention in which the pedal-operated front brake valves 86L, 86R are replaced by solenoid-operated valves 98L, 98R connected between the line L2 output of second control valve 78 and the respective front brake valves 80L, 80R operating left and right front service brakes 52L, 52R. Other components of the arrangement of Figure 4 are the same as in Figure 3, are denoted by the same reference numerals, and will not be further described.

    [0055] The brake circuit shown in Figure 4 may be adapted to a full electronic braking system (brake by wire) wherein the left rear brake valve 84L and the right rear brake valve 84R are not directly connected to two foot pedals 82L, 82R. Instead, solenoid valves are used to activate the rear service brakes 38L, 38R. The movement of the two foot pedals 82L, 82R may then be measured by sensors and forwarded to control unit 62, which in turn controls the solenoid valves. Furthermore, such a brake system may be provided with only one foot pedal. A further activation means may be provided so that the driver can activate steering brake operation or the system may automatically activate steering brake depending on sensed parameters (vehicle speed, field/road operation, etc.). Furthermore the park brake control valve 92 may be also solenoid valves (connected with control system 62) which is operable to connect the fluid supply, via a relay valve 94 and respective left and right rear solenoid valves 96L, 96R, to release or activate the park brakes 40L, 40R. In such an arrangement, the brake force of the park brake under normal operating condition, cannot be controlled by the driver, only ON/OFF condition is possible.

    [0056] Whilst the above arrangement described is intended for use as a pneumatic circuit, it is envisaged that the above described brake arrangement can also be operated hydraulically.

    [0057] Figure 5 represents a method of brake steering as may be effected by the tractor 10 of Figure 1 under the direction of the control system 62. From starting at 100, at step 102 a determination is made as to whether the tractor is travelling substantially straight. If so, at step 104 the wheel velocity difference value is set to the first and lowest value (LEVEL=1).

    [0058] If the tractor is not travelling substantially straight, at step 106 a determination is made as to whether the tractor is travelling a driven turn. If so, at step 108 the wheel velocity difference value is set to the second and intermediate value (LEVEL=2).

    [0059] If the tractor is neither travelling substantially straight nor a driven turn, which is indicative of steering braking, at step 110 the wheel velocity difference value is set to the third and highest value (LEVEL=3) for a steering braking turn, the service brakes 38 are applied on one or both of the wheels on the inside of the turn at step 112 and (as described above) optionally the parking brake 40 of the rear wheel on the inside of the turn may be applied at step 114.

    [0060] Following the selection of the first or second wheel velocity difference threshold values at steps 104 and 108, or the application of the service brakes at step 112, a check is made at step 116 as to whether the current magnitude of wheel velocity difference value exceeds the currently selected threshold and, if so, at step 118 the first clutch 160 is engaged.

    [0061] As described above and represented in Figure 6 (with the pedal stroke of pedals 82L or 82R depicted on the horizontal axis while the brake forces/fluid pressures are depicted on the vertical axis), the controllably varied level of braking force applied by the parking brake (as depicted with graph G1) is preferably substantially proportional to the level of applied service brake force (as depicted with graph G2) while the fluid pressure applied on the park brake (as depicted with graph G3) is substantially inversely proportional to that applied on the service brake (as depicted with graph G4). The graphs G1 and G2 may show equal values but are depicted with a small offset for clarity reasons. The pedal stroke shown on the horizontal axis starts with 20% which means that before, no brakes are actuated but e.g. the brake lights are anyway switched on, e.g. at a stroke of 10% before the vehicle is braked.

    [0062] Referring back to Figure 5, the second and third wheel velocity difference values between the front and rear axles may be set to a fixed amount, e.g. 15% and 30%. Alternatively, an optional step may comprise actively adjusting the wheel velocity difference values based on external factors identified by the sensors 11, such as:
    • gross weight of the vehicle;
    • amount of front and/or rear ballasting carried by the vehicle;
    • weighting information pertaining to a towed or carried implement;
    • extent of measured wheel-slip for one or more wheels of the vehicle;
    • tyre pressure in one or more tyres on respective wheels of the vehicle;
    • angle of turn directed by a user of the vehicle;
    • current speed of the vehicle;
    • ambient conditions external to the vehicle.


    [0063] If sensor input indicates the vehicle is heavier at the rear, the control system 62 may not activate the front service brake, while when the vehicle is heavier at the front, the system may not activate the additional brake force supplied by park brake. This situative brake control enables an efficient operation avoid excessive brake force to reduce soil damages. An ABS sensor giving wheel velocity to determine tyre slip may then be used for control of brakes and clutch.

    [0064] As brake steering should only be used in field conditions, and not on the road, a further determination may be made at 120 prior to the start of a turn at 100 as to whether the vehicle is in a "safe" geographical location, namely a field. This determination may be made automatically in control system 62 on the basis of input from the geographical positioning system 15 (Fig. 1).

    [0065] In the foregoing the applicants have described a method of brake steering in a four-wheel drive utility vehicle having a driven front axle carrying at least two front wheels, a driven rear axle carrying at least two rear wheels, a powertrain delivering torque to the front axle via a first motor and to the rear axle via a second motor, a controlled clutch arrangement operable to couple the outputs of the first and second motors to vary the distribution of delivered torque between the front and rear axles, and independently operable service brakes on each of the front and rear wheels. The method comprises determining a difference in wheel velocity between front and rear wheels; comparing the difference to a threshold value and, when exceeded, automatically engaging the controlled clutch arrangement. A determination is made as to whether or not the vehicle is performing a brake steering manoeuvre and the threshold value is adjusted accordingly. Additional braking force may be applied from independently operable park brakes on the rear wheels in inverse relationship to the level of service brake force applied.

    [0066] From reading of the present disclosure, other modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. Such modifications may involve other features which are already known in the field of vehicle driveline and braking systems and component parts therefore and which may be used instead of or in addition to features described herein.


    Claims

    1. A method of brake steering in a four-wheel drive utility vehicle (10) having a driven front axle (18) carrying at least two front wheels (56L, 56R), a driven rear axle (20) carrying at least two rear wheels (44L, 44R), a powertrain delivering torque to the rear axle via a first motor (142) and to the front axle via a second motor (144), a controlled clutch arrangement (160, 166) operable when engaged to couple the output of the first and second motors to vary the distribution of delivered torque between the front and rear axles, and independently operable service brakes (38L, 38R, 52L, 52R) on each of the front and rear wheels, the method comprising;

    determining a difference in wheel velocity between front and rear wheels;

    comparing the difference to a threshold value and, when exceeded, automatically engaging the controlled clutch arrangement (160, 166);

    with the vehicle travelling a substantially straight path, applying a first level of the threshold value;

    on the vehicle entering a driven turn, applying a second level of the threshold value higher than the first;

    on the vehicle entering a braking turn, applying the service brakes of the front and rear wheels on the inside of the turn and applying a third level of the threshold value higher than the second.


     
    2. A method of brake steering as claimed in claim 1 wherein, where the vehicle (10) is additionally provided with independently-operable parking brakes (40L, 40R) on each of the rear wheels, on entering a braking turn applying also, and to a predetermined level of braking force, the parking brake on the rear wheel on the inside of the turn.
     
    3. A method of brake steering as claimed in claim 2, wherein the level of parking brake braking force applied to a rear wheel on entering a braking turn is substantially proportional to the level of service brake braking force applied to the same wheel.
     
    4. A method of brake steering as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the level of service brake braking force applied during a braking turn is determined by the level of pressure exerted by a user of the vehicle on a brake control (82) of the vehicle.
     
    5. A method of brake steering as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4, wherein at least one of the second and third levels of the threshold is determined at least partially on the basis of the vehicle wheelbase.
     
    6. A method of brake steering as claimed in any of claims 1 to 5, including adapting at least one of the second and third levels of the threshold in response to changes to the track width of the vehicle.
     
    7. A method of brake steering as claimed in any of claims 1 to 6, including adapting at least one of the second and third levels of the threshold in response to changes to the maximum steering angle of the vehicle.
     
    8. A method of brake steering as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4 wherein the ratio of service braking force between front and rear wheels is controllably varied based on one or more of the following factors:

    • gross weight of the vehicle;

    • amount of front and/or rear ballasting carried by the vehicle;

    • weighting information pertaining to a towed or carried implement;

    • extent of measured wheel-slip for one or more wheels of the vehicle;

    • tyre pressure in one or more tyres on respective wheels of the vehicle;

    • angle of turn directed by a user of the vehicle;

    • current speed of the vehicle;

    • ambient conditions external to the vehicle.


     
    9. A drive line for a four-wheel drive utility vehicle (10) comprising:

    a driven front axle (18) carrying at least two front wheels (56L, 56R);

    a driven rear axle (20) carrying at least two rear wheels (44L, 44R);

    a powertrain delivering torque to the rear axle via a first motor (142) and to the front axle via a second motor (144);

    a controlled clutch arrangement (160, 166) operable when engaged to couple the outputs of the first and second motors to vary the distribution of delivered torque between the front and rear axles;

    the driveline characterised by independently operable service brakes (38L, 38R, 52L, 52R) on each of the front and rear wheels;

    first and second sensors (S1, S2) respectively disposed to determine front and rear wheel velocity;

    a turn sensor (S3) disposed to measure a turning angle of the vehicle;

    data storage (62a) holding data defining first, second and third levels of a threshold value; and

    a control system (62) coupled with the powertrain, sensors, data storage, clutch arrangement and service brakes, and configured to:

    determine a difference in wheel velocity between front and rear wheels from the first and second sensors;

    compare the difference to the threshold value and, when exceeded, automatically engage the controlled clutch arrangement;

    determine from the turn sensor when the vehicle travels a substantially straight path, and apply the first level of the threshold value;

    determine from the turn sensor when the vehicle enters a driven turn, and apply the second level of the threshold value, which second level is higher than the first; and

    determine at least partly from the turn sensor when the vehicle enters a braking turn, apply the service brakes of the front and rear wheels on the inside of the turn and apply the third level of the threshold value, which third level is higher than the second.


     
    10. A drive line as claimed in claim 9, further comprising independently-operable parking brakes (40L, 40R) on the rear wheels, the control system (62) being configured on detecting that the vehicle is entering a braking turn to apply also, and to a predetermined level of braking force, the parking brake on the rear wheel on the inside of the turn.
     
    11. A driveline as claimed in claim 10, wherein the control system (62) is configured to determine and apply a level of parking brake braking force to a rear wheel on entering a braking turn that is substantially proportional to the level of service brake braking force applied to the same wheel.
     
    12. A driveline as claimed in any of claims 9 to 11, including a user-operable brake control device (82) and means for determining a pressure applied to the same, wherein the control system (62) is configured to set the level of service brake braking force applied during a turn based on the level of pressure exerted by a user of the vehicle on the brake control device.
     
    13. A driveline as claimed in any of claims 9 to 12, wherein the control system (62) includes an input (11, 13) for data and is configured to vary at least one of the first, second and third levels of the threshold based on an input value for one or more of the vehicle wheelbase, the vehicle track width, and the maximum steering angle of the vehicle.
     
    14. A utility vehicle (10) including a driveline as claimed in any of claims 9 to 13.
     
    15. A utility vehicle (10) as claimed in claim 14, further comprising a geographical positioning system (15) coupled with the control system (62), with the control system being configured to not implement a method of brake steering according to any of claims 1 to 8 on determination that the vehicle is outside of a predetermined geographical area.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Bremslenken im einem vierradangetriebenen Nutzfahrzeug (10) mit einer angetriebenen Vorderachse (18), die mindestens zwei Vorderrädern (56L, 56R) trägt, einer angetriebenen Hinterachse (20), die mindestens zwei Hinterräder (44L, 44R) trägt, einem Antriebsstrang, der über einen ersten Motor (142) der Hinterachse und über einen zweiten Motor (144) der Vorderachse Drehmoment liefert, einer gesteuerten/geregelten Kupplungsanordnung (160, 166), die im eingekuppelten Zustand betreibbar ist, um den Ausgang des ersten und des zweiten Motors zu koppeln, um die Verteilung des gelieferten Drehmoments zwischen der Vorderachse und der Hinterachse zu variieren, und unabhängig voneinander betreibbaren Betriebsbremsen (38L, 38R, 52L, 52R) an den Vorderrädern und den Hinterrädern, wobei das Verfahren das Folgende aufweist:

    Bestimmen einer Differenz zwischen der Radgeschwindigkeit der Vorderräder und der Hinterräder;

    Vergleichen der Differenz mit einem Grenzwert und, bei Überschreiten, automatisches Einkuppeln der gesteuerten/geregelten Kupplungsanordnung (160, 166);

    Anwenden eines ersten Niveaus des Grenzwerts bei Fortbewegung des Fahrzeugs entlang eines im Wesentlichen geraden Wegs;

    Anwenden eines zweiten Niveaus des Grenzwerts, das höher als das erste Niveau ist, beim Eintreten des Fahrzeugs in eine gefahrene Kurve;

    Anwenden der Betriebsbremsen der Vorderräder und der Hinterräder innen in der Kurve und Anwenden eines dritten Niveaus des Grenzwerts, das höher als das zweite Niveau ist, beim Eintreten des Fahrzeugs in eine gebremste Kurve.


     
    2. Verfahren zum Bremslenken nach Anspruch 1, wobei, wenn das Fahrzeug (10) zusätzlich mit unabhängig betreibbaren Parkbremsen (40L, 40R) an jedem der Hinterräder ausgestattet ist, beim Eintreten in eine gebremste Kurve auch die Parkbremse an dem Hinterrad innen in der Kurve angewendet wird.
     
    3. Verfahren zum Bremslenken nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Niveau der Bremskraft der Parkbremse, die beim Eintreten in eine gebremste Kurve auf ein Hinterrad einwirkt, im Wesentlichen proportional zu dem Niveau der auf dasselbe Rad einwirkenden Bremskraft der Betriebsbremse ist.
     
    4. Verfahren zum Bremslenken nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei das Niveau der während einer gebremsten Kurve einwirkenden Bremskraft der Betriebsbremse durch das Niveau des durch einen Benutzer des Fahrzeugs auf eine Bremssteuerung (82) des Fahrzeugs ausgeübten Druck bestimmt wird.
     
    5. Verfahren zum Bremslenken nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei mindestens eines der Niveaus aus dem zweiten und dritten Niveau des Grenzwerts zumindest teilweise auf Basis des Achsstands des Fahrzeugs bestimmt wird.
     
    6. Verfahren zum Bremslenken nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, mit dem Anpassen mindestens eines der Niveaus aus dem zweiten und dritten Niveau des Grenzwerts in Abhängigkeit von Veränderungen der Spurweite des Fahrzeugs.
     
    7. Verfahren zum Bremslenken nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, mit dem Anpassen mindestens eines der Niveaus aus dem zweiten und dritten Niveau des Grenzwerts in Abhängigkeit von Veränderungen des maximalen Lenkwinkels des Fahrzeugs.
     
    8. Verfahren zum Bremslenken nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei das Verhältnis der Bremskraft der Betriebsbremse zwischen den Vorderrädern und den Hinterrädern basierend auf einem oder mehreren der folgenden Faktoren kontrolliert variiert wird:

    - Gesamtgewicht des Fahrzeugs;

    - Menge der von dem Fahrzeug vorne und/oder hinten getragenen Beschwerung;

    - Wiegeinformation betreffend ein gezogenes oder getragenes Arbeitsgerät;

    - Ausmaß des gemessenen Radschlupfs für ein oder mehrere Räder des Fahrzeugs;

    - Reifendruck in einem oder mehreren Reifen auf entsprechenden Rädern des Fahrzeugs;

    - durch einen Benutzer des Fahrzeugs vorgegebener Lenkwinkel;

    - gegenwärtige Geschwindigkeit des Fahrzeugs;

    - Umgebungsbedingungen außerhalb des Fahrzeugs.


     
    9. Antriebssystem für ein vierradangetriebenes Nutzfahrzeug (10), mit:

    einer angetriebenen Vorderachse (18), die mindestens zwei Vorderrädern (56L, 56R) trägt;

    einer angetriebenen Hinterachse (20), die mindestens zwei Hinterräder (44L, 44R) trägt;

    einem Antriebsstrang, der über einen ersten Motor (142) der Hinterachse und über einen zweiten Motor (144) der Vorderachse Drehmoment liefert;

    einer gesteuerten/geregelten Kupplungsanordnung (160, 166), die im eingekuppelten Zustand betreibbar ist, um die Ausgänge des ersten und des zweiten Motors zu koppeln, um die Verteilung des gelieferten Drehmoments zwischen der Vorderachse und der Hinterachse zu variieren;

    wobei der Antriebsstrang durch unabhängig voneinander betreibbare Betriebsbremsen (38L, 38R, 52L, 52R) an den Vorderrädern und den Hinterrädern gekennzeichnet ist;

    einem ersten Sensor (S1) und einem zweiten Sensor (S2), die zum Bestimmen der Vorderradgeschwindigkeit bzw. Hinterradgeschwindigkeit entsprechend angeordnet sind;

    einem Kurvensensor (S3), der zum Messen eines Kurvenwinkels des Fahrzeugs angeordnet ist;

    einem Datenspeicher (62a), der Daten aufnimmt, die ein erstes, zweites und drittes Niveau eines Grenzwerts definieren; und

    ein Steuer-/Regelsystem (62), das mit dem Antriebsstrang, den Sensoren, dem Datenspeicher, der Kupplungsanordnung und den Betriebsbremsen gekoppelt und für das Folgende konfiguriert ist:

    Bestimmen einer Differenz zwischen der Radgeschwindigkeit der Vorderräder und der Hinterräder aus dem ersten und zweiten Sensor;

    Vergleichen der Differenz mit dem Grenzwert und, bei Überschreiten, automatisches Einkuppeln der gesteuerten/geregelten Kupplungsanordnung;

    Bestimmen aus dem Kurvensensor, wenn sich das Fahrzeug entlang eines im Wesentlichen geraden Wegs bewegt, und Anwenden des ersten Niveaus des Grenzwerts;

    Bestimmen aus dem Kurvensensor, wenn das Fahrzeug in eine gefahrene Kurve eintritt, und Anwenden des zweiten Niveaus des Grenzwerts, wobei das das zweite Niveau höher als das erste Niveau ist; und

    Bestimmen zumindest teilweise aus dem Kurvensensor, wenn das Fahrzeug in eine gebremste Kurve eintritt, und Anwenden der Betriebsbremsen der Vorderräder und der Hinterräder innen in der Kurve und Anwenden eines dritten Niveaus des Grenzwerts, wobei das dritte Niveau höher als das zweite Niveau ist.


     
    10. Antriebssystem nach Anspruch 9, weiterhin mit unabhängig voneinander betreibbaren Packbremsen (40L, 40R) an den Hinterrädern, wobei das Steuer-/Regelsystem (62) konfiguriert ist, um beim Feststellen, dass das Fahrzeug in eine gebremste Kurve eintritt, auch die Parkbremse an dem Hinterrad innen in der Kurve mit einem vorbestimmten Niveau der Bremskraft angewendet wird.
     
    11. Antriebssystem nach Anspruch 10, wobei das Steuer-/Regelsystem (62) konfiguriert ist, um ein Niveau der Bremskraft der Parkbremse, die beim Eintreten in eine gebremste Kurve auf ein Hinterrad einwirkt, zu bestimmen und anzuwenden, das im Wesentlichen proportional zu dem Niveau der auf dasselbe Rad einwirkenden Bremskraft der Betriebsbremse ist.
     
    12. Antriebssystem nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 11, mit einer benutzerbedienbaren Brems-Steuer-/Regeleinrichtung (82) und einem Mittel zum Bestimmen eines auf diese angewendeten Drucks, wobei das Steuer-/Regelsystem (62) konfiguriert ist, um das Niveau der während einer Kurve aufgebrachten Bremskraft der Betriebsbremse basierend auf dem Niveau des durch einen Benutzer des Fahrzeugs auf die Brems-Steuer-/Regeleinrichtung ausgeübten Drucks zu bestimmen.
     
    13. Antriebssystem nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 12, wobei das Steuer-/Regelsystem (62) einen Eingang (11, 13) für Daten aufweist und zum Verändern mindestens eines der Niveaus aus dem ersten, zweiten und dritten Niveau des Grenzwerts basierend auf einem Eingangswert für eines oder mehrere der folgenden Dinge konfiguriert ist: Achsstand, Spurweite des Fahrzeugs und maximaler Lenkwinkel des Fahrzeugs.
     
    14. Nutzfahrzeug (10) mit einem Antriebssystem nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 13.
     
    15. Nutzfahrzeug (10) nach Anspruch 14, weiterhin mit einem geographischen Lagebestimmungssystem (15), das mit dem Steuer-/Regelsystem (62) verbunden ist, wobei das Steuer-/Regelsystem konfiguriert ist, um das Verfahren des Bremslenkens nach mindestens einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8 nicht auszuführen, wenn festgestellt wird, dass sich das Fahrzeug außerhalb eines vorbestimmten geographischen Bereich befindet.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de direction par freinage sur un véhicule utilitaire à quatre roues motrices (10) comportant un essieu avant moteur (18) supportant au moins deux roues avant (56L, 56R), un essieu arrière moteur (20) supportant au moins deux roues arrière (44L, 44R), un groupe de propulsion délivrant un couple à l'essieu arrière par l'intermédiaire d'un premier moteur (142) et à l'essieu avant par l'intermédiaire d'un second moteur (144), un agencement d'embrayage commandé (160, 166) pouvant servir, lorsqu'il est activé, à coupler la sortie des premier et second moteurs afin de modifier la distribution du couple délivré entre et les essieux avant et arrière, et pouvant indépendamment servir de frein de service (38L, 38R, 52L, 52R) sur chacune des roues avant et arrière, le procédé comprenant :

    la détermination d'une différence de vitesse de roue entre les roues avant et arrière ;

    la comparaison de la différence par rapport à une valeur de seuil et, lorsqu'elle est excédée, l'activation automatique de l'agencement d'embrayage commandé (160, 166) ;

    le véhicule se déplaçant sur un trajet sensiblement rectiligne, l'application d'un premier niveau de la valeur de seuil ;

    lors de l'entrée du véhicule dans un virage en accélérant, l'application d'un deuxième niveau de la valeur de seuil supérieur au premier ;

    lors de l'entrée du véhicule dans un virage en freinant, l'application des freins de service des roues avant et arrière du côté intérieur au virage et l'application d'un troisième niveau de la valeur de seuil supérieur au deuxième.


     
    2. Procédé de direction par freinage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel, lorsque le véhicule (10) est, en outre, équipé de freins de stationnement (40L, 40R) pouvant être commandés indépendamment sur chacune des roues arrière, lors de l'entrée dans un virage en freinant l'application aussi, et à un niveau d'effort de freinage prédéterminé, du frein de stationnement sur la roue arrière du côté intérieur au virage.
     
    3. Procédé de direction par freinage selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le niveau de l'effort de freinage de frein de stationnement appliqué sur une roue arrière lors de l'entrée d'un virage en freinant est sensiblement proportionnel au niveau de l'effort de freinage de frein de service appliqué sur la même roue.
     
    4. Procédé de direction par freinage selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel le niveau d'effort de freinage de frein de service appliqué au cours d'un virage en freinant est déterminé par le niveau de pression exercé par l'utilisateur du véhicule sur une commande de frein (82) du véhicule.
     
    5. Procédé de direction par freinage selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel au moins l'un des deuxième et troisième niveaux de seuil est déterminé au moins partiellement sur la base de l'empattement de véhicule.
     
    6. Procédé de direction par freinage selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, comportant l'adaptation d'au moins l'un des deuxième et troisième niveaux du seuil en réponse à des modifications sur la largeur de voie du véhicule.
     
    7. Procédé de direction par freinage selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, comportant l'adaptation d'au moins l'un des deuxième et troisième niveaux du seuil en réponse à des modifications sur l'angle de braquage maximum du véhicule.
     
    8. Procédé de direction par freinage selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel le rapport d'effort de freinage de service entre les roues avant et arrière est modifié de manière commandée sur la base d'un ou plusieurs des facteurs suivants :

    le poids brut du véhicule ;

    la quantité de ballast avant et/ou arrière transportée par le véhicule ;

    des informations de poids appartement à un outillage tracté ou transporté ;

    le niveau de patinage de roue mesuré sur une ou plusieurs roues du véhicule ;

    la pression de pneu dans un ou plusieurs pneus sur les roues respectives du véhicule ;

    l'angle de braquage commandé par un utilisateur du véhicule ;

    la vitesse courante du véhicule ;

    les conditions ambiantes externes au véhicule.


     
    9. Transmission destinée à un véhicule utilitaire à quatre roues motrices (10) comprenant :

    un essieu avant moteur (18) supportant au moins deux roues avant (56L, 56R) ;

    un essieu arrière moteur (20) supportant au moins deux roues arrière (44L, 44R) ;

    un groupe de propulsion délivrant un couple à l'essieu arrière par l'intermédiaire d'un premier moteur (142) et à l'essieu avant par l'intermédiaire d'un second moteur (144) ;

    un agencement d'embrayage commandé (160, 166) pouvant servir, lorsqu'il est activé, à coupler la sortie des premier et second moteurs afin de modifier la distribution du couple délivré entre les essieux avant et arrière ;

    la transmission étant caractérisée par des freins de service (38L, 38R, 52L, 52R) pouvant être commandés indépendamment sur chacune des roues avant et arrière ;

    des premier et second capteurs (SI, S2) disposés respectivement afin de déterminer la vitesse des roues avant et arrière ;

    un capteur de braquage (S3) disposé de manière à mesurer un angle de braquage du véhicule ;

    un dispositif de mémorisation de données (62a) mémorisant des données définissant des premier, deuxième et troisième niveaux d'une valeur de seuil ; et

    un dispositif de commande (62) couplé aux groupe de propulsion, aux capteurs, au dispositif de mémorisation de données, à l'agencement d'embrayage et aux freins de service, et configuré de manière à :

    déterminer une différence sur la vitesse de roue entre les roues avant et arrière à partir des premier et second capteurs ;

    comparer la différence à la valeur de seuil et, lorsqu'elle dépassée, activer automatiquement l'agencement d'embrayage commandé ;

    déterminer, à partir du capteur de braquage, si le véhicule se déplace sensiblement en ligne droite, et appliquer le premier niveau de la valeur de seuil ;

    déterminer, à partir du capteur de braquage si le véhicule entre dans un virage en accélérant, et appliquer le deuxième niveau de la valeur de seuil, lequel deuxième niveau est supérieur au premier ; et

    déterminer au moins partiellement à partir du capteur de braquage si le véhicule entre dans un virage en freinant, appliquer les freins de service sur les roues avant et arrière du côté intérieur au virage et appliquer le troisième niveau de la valeur de seuil, lequel troisième niveau est supérieur au deuxième.


     
    10. Transmission selon la revendication 9, comprenant, en outre, des freins de stationnement (40L, 40R) pouvant être commandés indépendamment sur les roues arrière, le dispositif de commande (62) étant configuré, lors de la détection du fait que le véhicule entre dans un virage en freinant, de manière à appliquer aussi, et à un niveau prédéterminé d'un effort de freinage, le frein de stationnement sur la roue arrière du côté intérieur au virage.
     
    11. Transmission selon la revendication 10, dans laquelle le dispositif de commande (62) est configuré de manière à déterminer et à appliquer un niveau d'effort de freinage du frein de stationnement sur une roue arrière, lors de l'entrée dans un virage en freinant, qui est sensiblement proportionnel au niveau de l'effort de freinage de frein de service appliqué sur la même roue.
     
    12. Transmission selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 11, comportant un dispositif de commande de frein pouvant être utilisé par l'opérateur (82) et des moyens destinés à déterminer une pression appliquée sur celui-ci, dans laquelle le dispositif de commande (62) est configuré de manière à définir le niveau de l'effort de freinage de frein de service appliqué au cours d'un virage sur la base du niveau de pression exercé par un utilisateur du véhicule sur le dispositif de commande de freinage.
     
    13. Transmission selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 12, dans laquelle le dispositif de commande (62) comporte une entrée (11, 13) destinée à des données et est configuré de manière à modifier au moins l'un des premier, deuxième et troisième niveaux du seuil sur la base d'une valeur d'entrée pour un ou plusieurs de l'empattement du véhicule, de la largeur de voie du véhicule et de l'angle de braquage maximum du véhicule.
     
    14. Véhicule utilitaire (10) comportant une transmission selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 13.
     
    15. Véhicule utilitaire (10) selon la revendication 14, comprenant, en outre, un dispositif de positionnement géographique (15) couplé au dispositif de commande (62), le dispositif de commande étant configuré de manière à ne pas mettre en œuvre un procédé de direction par freinage selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8 lors de la détermination du fait que le véhicule est à l'extérieur d'une zone géographique prédéterminée.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description