Decouplable steering system with the possibility of same- and opposite-direction wheel engagement


In the automated, driverless, electric vehicle concept U-Shift, a novel type of mobility is created by separating a vehicle into a drive module and a transport capsule. The autonomous driving module, known as a driveboard, is able to change the transport capsules independently and thus serves to transport both people and goods. In order to be able to use the vehicle sensibly, especially in urban areas, the space required for manoeuvring and loading or unloading the capsules must be kept to a minimum. This poses special challenges for the steering system.

In this contribution, a new type of steering system is presented, which enables both same-direction and opposite-direction wheel steering. During normal cornering, there is a mechanical coupling between the wheels. This means that occurring forces and moments are mutually supported by the wheels, which minimises the energy requirement of the steering system. The mechanical coupling of the wheels can be separated for manoeuvring the vehicle. By turning the front wheels in opposite directions towards the centre of the vehicle, the centre of rotation of the vehicle can be shifted to the centre of the rear axle. The vehicle can thus be rotated around the centre of the rear axle which allows to reduce the space required for manoeuvring to a necessary minimum.