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Longitudinal Vehicle Dynamics

Model longitudinal dynamics and motion of two-axle, four-wheel vehicle

Vehicle Components


The Longitudinal Vehicle Dynamics block models a two-axle vehicle, with four equally sized wheels,
moving forward or backward along its longitudinal axis. You specify front and rear longitudinal
forces Fxf, Fxr applied at the front and rear wheel contact points, as well as the incline angle , as a
set of Simulink input signals. The block computes the vehicle velocity Vx and the front and rear
vertical load forces Fzf, Fzr on the vehicle as a set of Simulink output signals. All signals have MKS
You must specify the vehicle mass and certain geometric and kinematic details:
Position of the vehicle's center of gravity (CG) relative to the front and rear axles and to the
Effective frontal cross-sectional area
Aerodynamic drag coefficient
Initial longitudinal velocity
See Vehicle Model following for details of the vehicle dynamics.
The Longitudinal Vehicle Dynamics block lets you model only longitudinal (horizontal) dynamics.
Depending on the initial configuration, the block might implement inconsistent initial conditions for
the vertical load forces, causing spurious transient dynamics just after the simulation starts.
Caution The Longitudinal Vehicle Dynamics block does not correctly simulate with sudden
changes in the external (longitudinal and gravity) forces. It correctly models only slowly changing
external conditions.
Using Vehicle Component Blocks
Use the blocks of the Vehicle Components library as a starting point for vehicle modeling. To see
how a Vehicle Component block models a driveline component, look under the block mask. The
blocks of this library serve as suggestions for developing variant or entirely new models to simulate
the same components. Break the block's library link before modifying it and creating your own

Dialog Box and Parameters

Mass m of the vehicle in kilograms (kg). The default is 1200.
Horizontal distance from CG to front axle
Horizontal distance a, in meters (m), from the vehicle's center of gravity to the vehicle's
front wheel axle. The default is 1.4.
Horizontal distance from CG to rear axle
Horizontal distance b, in meters (m), from the vehicle's center of gravity to the vehicle's
rear wheel axle. The default is 1.6.
CG height from ground
Height h, in meters (m), of the vehicle's center of gravity from the ground. The default is
Frontal area
Effective cross-sectional area A, in meters squared (m2), presented by the vehicle in
longitudinal motion, for the purpose of computing the aerodynamic drag force on the
vehicle. The default is 3.
Drag coefficient

The dimensionless aerodynamic drag coefficient Cd, for the purpose of computing the
aerodynamic drag force on the vehicle. The default is 0.4.
Initial longitudinal velocity
The initial value of the vehicle's horizontal velocity, in meters/second (m/s). The default is

Vehicle Model
The vehicle axles are parallel and lie in a plane parallel to the ground. The longitudinal x direction
lies in this plane and perpendicular to the axles. If the vehicle is traveling on an incline slope , the
vertical z direction is not parallel to gravity but is always perpendicular to the axle-ground plane.
This figure and table define the vehicle motion model variables.
Vehicle Dynamics and Motion

Vehicle Model Variables and Constants


Meaning and Unit

g = -9.81

Gravitational acceleration (m/s2)

Incline angle (rad)

Vehicle mass (kg)

Effective frontal vehicle cross-sectional area (m2)

Height of vehicle CG above the ground (m)

a, b

Distance of front and rear axles, respectively, from the vertical projection point of
vehicle CG onto the axle-ground plane (m)


Longitudinal vehicle velocity (m/s)

Fxf, Fxr

Longitudinal forces on the vehicle at the front and rear wheel ground contact points,
respectively (N)

Fzf, Fzr

Vertical load forces on the vehicle at the front and rear ground contact points,
respectively (N)


Aerodynamic drag coefficient (Ns2/kgm)

= 1.2 kg/m3 Mass density of air (kg/m3)

|Fd| =

Aerodynamic drag force (N)

Vehicle Dynamics and Motion

The vehicle motion is determined by the net effect of all the forces and torques acting on it. The
longitudinal tire forces push the vehicle forward or backward. The weight mg of the vehicle acts
through its center of gravity (CG). Depending on the incline angle, the weight pulls the vehicle to
the ground and either pulls it backward or forward. Whether the vehicle travels forward or
backward, aerodynamic drag slows it down. For simplicity, the drag is assumed to act through the

Zero vertical acceleration and zero pitch torque require

Note that Fzf + Fzr = mgcos.

Caution The Longitudinal Vehicle Dynamics block is implemented with a transfer function that
imposes a small delay on the vertical force reaction to changes in the horizontal forces. The
vertical and pitch equilibria hold only on average.

The demo model drive_4wd_dynamics combines two differentials with four tire-wheel assemblies to
model the contact of tires with the road and the longitudinal vehicle motion.
The demo model drive_vehicle models an entire one-wheel vehicle, including Tire and Longitudinal
Vehicle Dynamics blocks.

Centa, G., Motor Vehicle Dynamics: Modeling and Simulation, Singapore, World Scientific, 1997.
Pacejka, H. B., Tire and Vehicle Dynamics, Society of Automotive Engineers and ButterworthHeinemann, Oxford, 2002.

See Also
Differential, Tire
See Simulating a Complete Car.