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Tongue Weight Indicator Using Onboard Accelerometer

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000250545D
Publication Date: 2017-Aug-01
Document File: 1 page(s) / 99K

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The IP.com Prior Art Database

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Tongue Weight Indicator Using Onboard Accelerometer

Tongue weight refers to the load applied to a vehicle hitch by a trailer and depends on the distribution of weight in the trailer. Proper tongue weight is necessary for on-road stability of the vehicle/trailer system. An improperly loaded trailer can sway, leading to driving difficulty. To assist an operator in properly loading a trailer, some indication of tongue weight is desirable. Presently, most new vehicles are equipped with an accelerometer mounted on the vehicle body that measures longitudinal vehicle motion. This instrument also responds to vehicle pitch which exposes it to the acceleration due to gravity. When this acceleration signal is used for vehicle dynamic control, the gravity component is often removed algorithmically. However, it can be used to indicate tongue weight. As a vehicle tow hitch is loaded, the vehicle body will pitch in response to the weight applied. This is illustrated below in the drawing of a loaded trailer attached to a vehicle. If too much weight is loaded to the front of the trailer, tongue weight will increase, and the attached vehicle will pitch up. In the opposite way, if too much weight is loaded to the rear of the trailer, tongue weight will decrease, causing the attached vehicle to pitch down.

The degree of pitch and therefore tongue weight is seen by the accelerometer signal as shown in the right half of the figure. In the experiment shown, varying levels of loading were applied t...