Project: The Use of Electronic Systems to Improve the Roll Safety of Vehicles - Rolltrack

Reference: CSU 28/4/62

Last update: 04/08/2003 09:04:11


To investigate ways of monitoring vehicle roll characteristics and develop software capable of identifying the onset of roll.


A prototype system to monitor roll, based on axle weighing technology, will be built and evaluated on a test vehicle.


High Street, Kempsford, Gloucester, GL7 4EQ
01285 810483

Central Weighing Ltd
Unit 142, Hartlebury Trading Estate, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY1D 4JB
01299 251242

Corintech Ltd
Ashford Mill, Station Road, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 1DG
01425 654444

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £59,549.00

Actual start date: 01 September 1998

Actual completion date: 30 October 2001


Rolltrack: Monitoring the liklihood of heavy goods vehicle rollover
Author: B N Fenn (TRL Ltd) and R West (RWL Ltd)
Publication date: 01/01/2002
Source: TRL Ltd, Crowthorne, Berkshire. Ref no. PR/SE/436/2002

Summary of results

  1. Executive Summary available on the DfT Research Web page.

    Full report available from RWL Ltd High street, Kempsford, Glos. GL7 4EQ
  2. Over the past 3 years, RWL Ltd, along with TRL,Timestar Developments Ltd and Corintech Ltd havedeveloped an electronic system to monitor and recordthe stability of heavy goods vehicles whilst in motion.

    The basic sensing technique is to use AXLOAD sensorsthat measure the load on each end of one or possiblytwo of the vehicle rear axles. These sensors canalternatively be used to weigh the vehicle and therebyprovide two applications for the price of one.

    The system will provide stored information that can bedownloaded to a laptop computer from which thestability over a period i.e. one week, can be analysedand remedial action taken. If necessary the vehicle canbe adjusted, the driver retrained, and the load morecentrally mounted etc.

    The load transfer is expressed as a percentage i.e.perfect stability is 0% and rollover is 100%.

    The research was carried out as follows:

    An extensive computer modelling exercise was carriedout and a simple algorithm linking the wheel loadsand the degree of instability was established. It wasalso shown that the likely determinants of stabilitywere vehicle speed and suspension stiffness.

    The test programme was divided into three elements:

    1. driving around a series of circles

    2. a J turn manoeuvre

    3. driving around a roundabout

    From histograms recorded on the test vehicle it wasseen that by a small reduction in vehicle speed asignificant improvement in vehicle stability wasachieved for all types of manoeuvre.

    The effects of excessive temperature on the axle endand therefore the AXLOAD sensor was investigated.Axle makers indicated that 100 degrees centigrade waspossible after prolonged feathering on the brake andtherefore a system for compensating the strain gaugeoutputs using a temperature sensor within theAXLOAD sensor was developed.

    A closed loop system is proposed for a follow upproject to be called ROLLCONTROL. Funds have beensecured from the EU to this end.

    ROLLTRACK should sell well in its own right andseveral potential customers have been located in bothEurope and overseas.

    Finally, it is clear that ROLLTRACK has the potential tosignificantly improve the safety of heavy goods vehicles.

Departmental Assessment Status: Project completed prior to implementation of Departmental Publication Scheme.