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The Study of Behavior of Passenger Car-Semi-Autonomous Trailer Connections under Load
A variety of passenger car-trailer connections exist on the market. One specific type of the connections provides a tensile force measurement capability for the purpose of providing feedback for the semi-autonomous trailer’s control system. Semi-autonomous trailer is an innovative technology that can encourage drivers to use smaller vehicles for towing, which will contribute to restoration and improvement of urban infrastructure (NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering, 2020). The vehicle-semi-autonomous trailer connection’s safety concerns depend on multiple factors, but start with either a mechanical, or an electrical failure. The topic of safety of passenger car-semi-autonomous trailer connections is not well present in literature. The connections’ mechanical failures under load are in the focus of this work. The author addressed the following research question and the sub question. How do the existing “passenger car-trailer” connections with tensile force measurement capability compare to one another under load in terms of the possible failure? What is the failure mode of each of the compared connections? The author selected three prototypes from the literature, built three-dimensional (3D) models in SolidWorks 2018 and simulated the tests in the program’s add-on in accordance with the requirements of an industry standard on real-life testing of specific vehicle systems. The author compared the three prototypes by a number of different parameters. The research showed that none of the three existing prototypes are public road-ready in terms of safety. The study can be useful for future designers of passenger-car-semi-autonomous trailer connections.