Machine Design

Vibration Sensors in a Speed Bump or Diagnostics Cleat Detect Damaged Suspension Components in the Army’s Humvees

Researchers at Purdue University have developed an intelligent speed bump. They installed triaxial accelerometers in the bump or diagnostic cleat to pinpoint damage in suspension components — including tires — on vehicles driven over it. They programmed the cleat to work on Humvees, one of the Army’s primary transport and tactical vehicles. The goal is to reduce troubleshooting while still repairing or replacing damaged components before they lead to problems in the field. In experiments, the cleat could detect damaged components as well as a 5% change in the stiffness of a vehicle’s suspension. In one round of tests, the cleat repeatedly zeroed in on a defective coil spring in the front end of a Humvee even though tire pressure was purposely changed to confuse the cleat’s algorithms. The device costs about $1,500.

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