Terrain Response is an innovative integrated system technology which addresses two issues at once. Primarily, it offers a simple instinctive control interface which integrates multiple systems such as air suspension and hill descent control (HDC) but also the gearbox, engine and traction systems. The new control interface addresses the issue of ever increasing complexity because of increasing numbers of individual system controls. Secondly, it widens the vehicles’ breadth of ability by optimizing many of the vehicle’s systems for specific conditions, using the new interface. This provides a vehicle with a wider breadth and higher level of capability than otherwise would have been possible with a traditional single compromise for all conditions. This paper outlines details of the system and its development into a production system for the new Land Rover Discovery III and Range Rover Sport vehicles.
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The basic requirement for the engine management with regard to terrain response is to offer pedal progression maps which are specifically adapted for each Special Program. For each different Program there is a different relationship between throttle pedal position and the amount of engine torque produced. Additionally the rate of torque build up (or reduction), following pedal movement, depends on the active terrain response program. An additional requirement is that Program changes can take place under as many circumstances as possible, including whilst the throttle pedal is applied. Having to release the throttle, or not, can make the difference between maintaining momentum, or getting stuck off road. When changing from one Special Program to another, whilst the throttle pedal is applied, there needs to be a change in engine torque, even with the throttle pedal not being moved. This function is referred to as ‘blending’.
Blending means that an engine torque change will occur, even when the throttle pedal is kept stationary. This change of torque will have the effect of accelerating or decelerating the vehicle, even though the throttle pedal is not moved, which can be unnerving. For this reason the rate of increase of torque has been very carefully tuned and has been set to a very gradual, albeit noticeable, level.
The terrain response ECU sends out the required Terrain setting via a controlled area network (CAN) signal. Each of the participating systems is expected to follow the required Terrain Program, within a certain short time. The change of Program in the sub-systems is confirmed to the terrain response ECU in CAN signals unique to each ECU. At any time, a system changing to a different Program than that required will cause the terrain response ECU to disable the system.
The automotive terrain response systems market has been segmented based on two broad categories: component type and mode. In terms of component type, the automotive terrain response systems market has been segmented into traction control, stability control, and antilock brakes. Based on mode, the automotive terrain response systems market has been divided into hill descent control (HDC), drive line control, rock crawl, sand mud-ruts, and grass-gravel-snow. Additionally, the global automotive terrain response systems market has been divided into five regions: North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and Europe.
Europe was the leading market for automotive terrain response systems in 2015, followed by North America and Asia Pacific. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the highest rate. Growth of the market in Asia Pacific can be attributed to increased production of sports utility vehicles and rising demand for passenger and driver safety, which has empowered automotive manufacturers to invest significantly in this technology.
Major players in this industry are Jeep (U.S.), Robert Bosch GmbH (Germany), Denso Corporation (Japan), Honda Motor Company (Japan), Toyota Motor Corporation (Japan), Delphi Automotive plc (U.K), and Jaguar Land Rover (U.K.), among others.