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Title:
LEANING TRICYCLE AND ITS STEERING AND LEANING METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/225716
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention relates generally to the automotive industry and, more particularly — to the unique control features of a three-wheeled vehicle. The invention suggests a type of tilting vehicle control where the direction of the vehicle is initiated by the steering wheel and the tilt of the vehicle is controlled by tilting the same steering wheel shaft to the left or the right from neutral (center) position. The tilting three-wheeled vehicle consists of the frame (1), which has a motor, seats, single drive wheel, and the vehicle body in the back, and the two-wheeled independent symmetric suspension (3) with a control unit (4) in the front part of the frame. The solution is unique for its underframe (2) mounted on the frame (1) axles (5, 6) as well as the control unit (4) which consists of two separate units — the steering unit (4a) and the tilting unit (4b), both of which are connected by the steering wheel (12) and the steering shaft (13) which is mounted in the steering shaft longitudinal bushing (14). The steering unit (4a) features mechanical components for vehicle steering which are connected between the steering shaft (13) and the wheel knuckles (9, 9a). The tilting unit (4b) features the lever (19) connected to the frame (1), underframe (2), and the steering shaft longitudinal bushing (14). The tilting of this vehicle body, including the frame and the seats, and the steering of the front wheels are two separate actions, both of which are performed by the same steering wheel and the steering shaft. Both of these actions can be performed separately.

Inventors:
MIKALAUSKAS ARTŪRAS (LT)
BAČIAUSKAS LUKAS (LT)
Application Number:
IB2020/054225
Publication Date:
November 12, 2020
Filing Date:
May 04, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MAZOJI BENDRIJA MB SMALL PARTNERSHIP RIMTI RATAI (LT)
International Classes:
B62K5/10; B60G1/00; B62D9/02; B62K5/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2018211973A12018-11-22
WO2017194686A12017-11-16
WO2017062996A12017-04-13
Foreign References:
US7648148B12010-01-19
DE102017001556A12018-08-23
JP2002160687A2002-06-04
JP2010052666A2010-03-11
EP3099556A12016-12-07
US20140049021A12014-02-20
US20170144719A12017-05-25
US20180334213A12018-11-22
US20140091551A12014-04-03
US7850180B22010-12-14
EP3428048A12019-01-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIŠKIS, Vaclovas (LT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. The control method of the three- wheeled vehicle wherein the direction of the vehicle in motion is changed by steering the wheel (12) around its axis, characterized in that:

the tilting is controlled by holding the steering wheel (12) and tilting the steering shaft (13) to either left or right sides from the neutral (vertical, central) position.

2. The control method according to claim 1 characterized in that the steering shaft (13) tilting is always performed in a curved trajectory.

3. A tilting three-wheeled vehicle comprises:

the frame (1), which has a motor, seats, single drive wheel, and the vehicle body in the back; the two-wheeled independent symmetric front suspension (3) featuring four“V” shape arms

(the two top arms (7, 7a) and the two bottom arms (8, 8a)), connected to the front part of the frame (1) by hinge joints, the wheel knuckles (9, 9a) mounted in the tips of the top and the bottom arms by hinge joints, as well as the wheel axles (10, 10a),

the shock absorbers (11, 11a),

the control unit (4), characterized in that:

the underframe (2) is mounted on the frame axles (5, 6),

the shock absorbers (11, 11a) are connected to one tip of the bottom arm (8, 8a) and the underframe (2) by the other tip,

the control unit (4) features the steering unit (4a) and the tilting unit (4b) both of which are interconnected with the steering wheel (12) with the steering shaft (13) mounted in the steering shaft longitudinal bushing (14),

the steering unit (4a) featuring mechanical elements for steering the front wheels of the vehicle are connected between the steering shaft (13) and the wheel knuckles (9, 9a), the tilting unit (4b) features the lever (19) which is connected to the frame (1), the underframe (2), and the steering shaft longitudinal bushing (14).

4. The vehicle according to claim 3, characterized in that:

the steering unit (4a) features mechanical elements for steering the front wheels of the vehicle consisting of the universal joint (15), the bevel gear (16) and the tie rods (18, 18a) (which are connected to the steering arm (17) and the wheel knuckles (9, 9a)) connected to the steering shaft (13), the lever (19) is mounted on the frame axle (20) and has moving axle connected to the one tip and the linear bearing inner part (22) connected to the other tip,

the moving axle (21) is connected to the lever (19) by the hinge (23) and mounted on the steering shaft angular bushing (24),

the linear bearing inner part (22) is mounted in the linear bearing outside part (25), the linear bearing outside part (25) has the linear bearing axle (26) at a 90-degree angle which is mounted in the underframe (2) bearing.

5. The vehicle according to claim 4, characterized in that the linear bearing inner part (22) of the tilting unit (4b) is made as an axis of the linear bearing outside part (25).

6. The vehicle according to claims 4, 5, chacacterized in that the element pairs of the body leaning system - the frame axle (20) and the bearing of the lever (19), the moving axle (21) and the linear bearing outside part (25), the linear bearing axis (26) and the bearings of the underframe (2) can be switched between without changing the general joint function.

7. The vehicle according to claims 3-6, chacaterized in that the steering shaft longitudinal bushing (14) which is made as a control column which features the steering shaft (13) mounted in, and is connected to the lever (19) by the moving axle (21).

Description:
. Leaning tricycle and its steering and leaning method

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the automotive industry and, more particularly - to the unique control features of a three-wheeled vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The era of automobiles began from the three- wheeled vehicles and even though the conventional four-wheeled vehicles later took over and became mainstream, the three-wheeled vehicles today still receive a great amount of interest. The industry today has introduced new technical solutions which dramatically improve the safety, operational simplicity, and dimensions for the threewheeled vehicles thus improving the overall perspective for such vehicles in general. Tilting three-wheeled vehicles with two wheels in the front and one in the back (symmetrically) shows great dynamic performance characteristics. Tilting vehicles are also sometimes called leaning vehicles.

SUMMARY OF A TILTING THREE-WHEELED VEHICLE CHARACTERISTICS

The characteristics of tilting three-wheeled vehicles combines the maneuverability of a motorcycle and the stability and safety of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), also known as a quadricycle. The change of driving direction for such vehicles is initiated by turning the front wheels and the stability— by tilting the vehicle body and front wheels to either one or the other sides to compensate the centrifugal forces. The tilting itself can be usually controlled by the body of the driver, by additional tilting mechanisms, by using hands or legs of the driver or by using other interactive systems. Examples of such technical solutions are stated below.

The chassis of a tilting three-wheeled vehicle can be either a solid frame or a combined frame consisting of two parts— front and back. The front frame part has a two- wheel suspension and the steering unit, the back frame part— rear suspension with a wheel, motor, and the vehicle body.

Vehicles with a solid frame that feature a non-tilting front suspension and the body are described in patents— US2017144719, WO2018211973. Vehicles with a solid frame that feature a tilting front suspension and the body are described in patents WO2017194686, WO2017062996. Further analysis consists of three- wheeled vehicles that feature a combined frame, consisting of two interconnected parts— front and back, with a symmetrical wheel configuration— two in the front and one in the back.

Analyzed three-wheeled vehicle, which has an interactive control system, featuring actuators, various sensors, electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic controllers, described in patent No. US2018334213. Such a vehicle is equal to the four-wheeled vehicle by its characteristics and is technically very complex as well as relatively expensive to manufacture.

Another analyzed solution, where a front suspension with a steering unit is mounted on the front of the chassis and is connected to the back of the chassis via axle which is set at a fixed angle, described in patent No. US2014091551. When a steering wheel is turned the whole vehicle body tilts to the same side. The angle of the tilt depends on the fixed axle angle mentioned above. The main disadvantage of such a system is that the body tilting and the wheel steering are mechanically interconnected— one cannot happen without another. Such a system is more useful for low-speed vehicles.

Another analyzed solution, where the steering of the vehicle is controlled by turning the front suspension with a steering wheel and the tilting is performed by the force of the driver legs— pushing top or bottom suspension pull rods directly or via additional levers is described in patent No. US7850180. Legs in tilting vehicles are usually used to maintain the driver stability so controlling the tilt by driver legs is not safe and not user-friendly.

The closest to this invention prototype is the patent No. EP3428048 which has a control mechanism that features two separate units— the steering unit and the tilting unit. The steering and the tilting are initiated at the front part of the frame which has the front suspension and the steering mechanism. Even though the steering and tilting systems are independent, both are controlled by the steering wheel which rotates about an axis. Such a system means that the tilting and steering are performed in sync thus making the two independent systems strictly linked.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention suggests a type of tilting vehicle control where the direction of the vehicle is initiated by the steering wheel and the tilt of the vehicle is controlled by tilting the same steering wheel shaft to the left or the right from neutral (center) position by the driver. The distance from the driver and the steering wheel does not change during the tilting process as the whole vehicle body is tilting.

Such tilting three-wheeled vehicle has a back frame part featuring a motor, single drive wheel, driver and/or passenger seats, and the vehicle body. Two symmetrical and independent suspensions, featuring four“V” shape arms are connected to the front frame part via hinge joints. The bearings at the tips of the top and bottom arms are connected to the wheel axles, shock absorbers, and the control unit by hinge joints as well. There is an underframe mounted onto the front frame part. The shock absorbers are mounted between the tip of the bottom arm and the underframe via hinge joints. The control unit consists of two parts - the steering unit and the tilting unit which are interconnected via steering shaft, mounted in the steering shaft longitudinal bushing. The steering unit features the mechanical parts, placed between the steering shaft and the wheel knuckles, dedicated to changing the direction of the vehicle in motion. The tilting unit consists of a lever that is connected to the front part of the frame, underframe, and the steering shaft longitudinal bushing in three points.

Steering unit features mechanical parts connected to the steering shaft - universal joint, bevel gear, and the tie rods, which are connected to the wheel knuckle and the steering arm using the hedge joints.

Suggesting making two axles at the tip of the tilting unit lever— one axle could be flexible, connected to the steering arm via a hinge, and another one - stationary. Flexible axle should be mounted on the linear bearing outside part and the stationary axis should be inserted into the linear bearing whose axis at a 90-degree angle is mounted into the bearing of the underframe. The element pairs of the body leaning system - frame axle and the bearing of the lever, moving axle and the linear bearing outside part, linear bearing axis, and the bearings of the underframe can be switched between without changing the general joint function. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Fig. 1 - the principal kinematic diagram of a three-wheeled vehicle suspension and the steering unit;

Fig. 2 - the principal kinematic diagram of a three-wheeled vehicle control mechanism;

Fig. 3 - the general view of the front part of the frame, the underframe, the front suspension as well as the control unit of a three-wheeled vehicle.

Fig. 4 - the side view of the front part of the frame, the underframe, the front suspension as well as the control unit of a three-wheeled vehicle.

The rear part of the frame, body with the seats, motor, rear suspension, and wheels of the vehicle are not shown in the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The three- wheeled vehicle, fig. 1, has a frame 1, underframe 2, front suspension 3, and the control unit 4. Frame 1 is connected to the underframe 2 by frame axles 5 and 6. The

independent front suspension 3 has two symmetric assemblies - left and right. The left suspension assembly consists of two“V” shape (also known as the triangle) arms— top arm - 7, bottom arm - 8, as well as the wheel knuckle 9 with the wheel axle 10 and the shock absorber 11. The tips of the arms 7 and 8 are connected to the frame 1 with hinges. The tip of the top arm 7 is connected to the top of the frame 1 and the tip of the bottom lever 8 is connected to the bottom of the frame 1. There is a wheel knuckle 9 with a wheel axle 10 connected to the narrow side of the arms 7 and 8 via hinge joints. The shock absorber 11 is connected to the narrow side of the bottom arm 8 by one end, and connected to the underframe 2 by the other end using hinge joints.

The right suspension assembly consists of the top arm 7a and the bottom arm 8a, the wheel knuckle 9a with the wheel axle 10a and the shock absorber 11a. The connections between right suspension assembly parts are analogical to the connections between left suspension assembly parts.

The control unit 4 consists of the steering unit 4a and the tilting unit 4b. Steering unit 4a features the steering wheel 12, steering shaft 13 which is mounted into the steering shaft longitudinal bushing 14 (which is also a part of the tilting unit 4b), universal joint 15, bevel gear 16, steering arm 17 and the tie rods 18 and 18a. Tie rod 18 is connected to the wheel knuckle 9 and the tie rod 18a is connected to the wheel knuckle 9a.

The tilting unit 4b consists of the lever 19 mounted on the frame axle 20 and the steering shaft longitudinal bushing 14. At the tip of the top part of the lever 19 there is a moving axle 21 and the linear bearing inner part 22 at the bottom part. The moving axle 21 is connected to the lever 19 by using the hinge 23 and the tip of the axis is mounted in the steering shaft angular bushing

24.

The linear bearing inner part 22 is mounted into the linear bearing outside part 25. Linear bearing outside part 25 has an axle 26 which is at a 90-degree angle, mounted into the underframe 2 bearing.

The steering shaft longitudinal bushing 14 has bearings mounted in for the steering shaft 13 and the steering shaft angular bushing is made for the moving axle 21 of the lever 19.

Fig. 1 and fig. 2 has specific symbols for every element and unit. Fig. 3 and fig. 4 is the representation of a real-world working example.

THE CONTROL OF SUCH TILTING THREE-WHEELED VEHICLE

By steering the steering wheel 12 together with the steering shaft 13 clockwise or counter- clockwise, the twist is transferred to the steering arm 17 through the universal joint 15 and the bevel gear 16. Then the twist is transferred through the tie rods 18 and 18a, eventually steering the wheel knuckle 9 and 9a with the wheel axles 10 and 10a to either one or another side. By tilting the steering wheel 12 together with the steering shaft 13 to either left or right side, the movement is transferred to the frame 1 through the steering shaft longitudinal bushing 14 and the lever 19 eventually tilting the body of the vehicle to the corresponding sides. Due to the two arms in the front suspension, when the steering wheel is being steered and the body is being tilted, the front wheels are tilting synchronically with the body.

The tilting of this vehicle body, including the frame and the seats, and the steering of the front wheels are two separate actions, both of which are performed by the same steering wheel and the steering shaft. Both of these actions can be performed separately. The standing still vehicle can be tilted without steering the wheels and vice versa - the vehicle can have front wheels steered without tilting the body. Such type of vehicle control can be used in relatively heavy vehicles. Such type of a three-wheeled vehicle control gives the driver additional maneuverability capabilities. The tilting angle is always fully controlled by the driver depending on the speed of the vehicle, angle of the turn, and the road surface - such a system provides a pure natural feeling for the driver. Depending on the purpose of the vehicle, the tilting angle can be adjusted. The invention is mechanically not complex, meaning that it can be easily implemented in various mass and size three-wheeled vehicles. Such a solution can be implemented in specific all-terrain vehicles featuring four wheels and independent rear suspension as well.