The company Freno Aero rebuilt a Ford Transit, Generation 6, with air suspension and new rear suspension, in order to provide better comfort for passengers with disabilities. After successful brake tests Freno also wanted to know how the rebuilt car's electronic stability program (ESP) may have been affected. Therefore they took help from two students on the program BSc in Automotive Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.
Used a steering robot
– To test the ESP we followed an international standard and to our help we had the university's steering robot. We started to find out what requirements the standard meant and then we learned to assemble and modify the steering robot for our tests. According to the standard's recommendations, we also constructed rollover protection parts if the car should roll over during testing, these we manufactured by using or own CAD-drawings, says Patrik Hedlund, who now finishes his BSc degree in Automotive Engineering.
– The tests gave very good results, and the car passed the criteria of the standard in a good way. The car was perceived as safe with no signs of tipping over, says Sebastian Berntsson, also BSc Automotive Engineering.
Gained insight into vehicle testing
Both Patrik Hedlund and Sebastian Berntsson are satisfied with the education which they think has a good mix of theory and practical application.
– What has been the most rewarding with the thesis was the opportunity to apply what we have learned during our education, and that we got to perform practical tests in the same way that takes place at car manufacturers and test companies. It has given us an insight into vehicle testing, and it's been fun to learn how to use the steering robot, says Sebastian Berntsson.
Both Freno as well as their supervisor for the thesis, senior lecturer Jan van Deventer, was impressed by the students' work.
– I'm very proud of Sebastian and Patrik who did an excellent work. They came here to develop and test cars and did exactly that. They have performed tests of active safety systems according to the international standard, and they have also developed and analyzed data that provides useful information to the automotive industry, says Jan van Deventer.
Testing of electronic stability control system with steering robot