Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
METHOD, CONTROL UNIT, COMPUTER PROGRAM PRODUCT AND CARRIER FOR IDENTIFYING LOW TIRE PRESSURE IN A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/231373
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Low tire pressure is identified indirectly in a vehicle (300) having at least three wheels (110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160) of which at least one is driven. A respective rotational speed (ω,1 ω2, ω3, ω4, ω5, ω6) is registered for each wheel of the vehicle. The rotational speeds are compared pairwise to one another to derive at least one test variable (R1, R2). The comparing involves: estimating, for each driven wheel (130, 140), a longitudinal slip (s) resulting from a traction torque (T) applied to the driven wheel; determining a first compensation factor, αi,j, which cancels out the estimated longitudinal slip (s) resulting from the traction torque (T); and evaluating the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another in consideration of αi,j and of the wheels of at least one evaluated pair are mutually different. the step of pairwise comparing the rotational speeds (ω,1 ω2, ω3, ω4, ω5, ω6) to one another comprises calculating at least one quotient between first and second rotational speeds of first and second wheels respectively. The test variable(s) (R1,R2) is (are) studied to check if one or more of the wheels have a tire pressure below a threshold level.

Inventors:
TORMOD FREDRIK (SE)
BERGENHEM ADAM (SE)
ÖSTLUND TOMAS (SE)
Application Number:
PCT/SE2019/050403
Publication Date:
December 05, 2019
Filing Date:
May 07, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SCANIA CV AB (SE)
International Classes:
B60C23/06
Foreign References:
EP0832767A21998-04-01
EP0773118A11997-05-14
US6817236B12004-11-16
US20030146830A12003-08-07
DE102006033589A12007-04-05
US20020157461A12002-10-31
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRENDH, Eva (SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A method performed in a control unit (310) for identifying low tire pressure in a vehicle (300) having at least three wheels (1 1 0, 120, 130, 1 40, 150, 160) of which at least one is driven , the method comprising the steps of :

registering a respective rotational speed (wi , 0)2, u)3, w4, cos, o)q) of each wheel of the vehicle;

comparing the rotational speeds pairwise to one another to derive at least one test variable (Ri , Fh) ; and

studying the at least one test variable to check if one or more of the wheels have a tire pressure below a threshold level, characterized by the comparing step involving :

estimating , for each driven wheel ( 130, 140), a longitudinal slip (s) resulting from a traction torque (T) applied to the driven wheel ;

determining a first compensation factor {a\ ), which cancels out the estimated longitudinal slip (s) resulting from the traction torque (T) applied to the driven wheel ( 130, 140) ; and evaluating the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another, in consideration of the first compensation factor ) and where the estimated longitudinal slips (s, , Sj ) of the wheels of at least one evaluated pair are mutually different wherein the step of pairwise comparing the rotational speeds (u)i , u)2, u)3, u)4, u)5, u)6) to one another comprises calculating at least one quotient between first and second rotational speeds of first and second wheels respectively.

2. The method according to claim 1 , wherein the first com- pensation factor {a\ ) for first and second wheels is calculated as:

where: s, is the estimated longitudinal slip for the first wheel,

Sj is the estimated longitudinal slip for the second wheel , 0 < s, <1 and 0 < Sj <1 .

3. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the comparing step further comprises determining a se- cond compensation factor {b\,\) reflecting respective effective rolling radii (re) of the first and second wheels, the second com- pensation factor {b\,\) cancelling out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels resulting from any differences in the effective rolling radii (re) of the first and se- cond wheels, and the second compensation factor (b\,\) being determined as:

where n is an unloaded wheel radius (ruid) of the first wheel , and

h is an unloaded wheel radius (ruid ) of the second wheel, and

wherein the rotational speeds of the wheels are pairwise evaluated against one another, further in consideration of the second compensation factor {b\,\).

4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the comparing step comprises determining a third compensation factor ref- lecting respective deviations from the effective rolling radii (re) of first and second wheels resulting from load effects ( L 1 -2 , L 3-4 , L 5- 6 ) on the first and second wheels, the third compensation factor cancelling out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels resulting from any differen- ces in load effects on the first and second wheels, and the third compensation factor being determined as:

where ridi is an estimated rolling radius of the first wheel resul- ting from a vertical load on the first wheel, and

ridj is an estimated rolling radius of the second wheel re- sulting from a vertical load on the second wheel , and

wherein the rotational speeds of the wheels are pairwise evaluated against one another, further in consideration of the third compensation factor {g\,\).

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein deriving the at least one test variable comprises deriving first and second test

5 variables (Ri , Fh), the first test variable (Ri ) being derived as:

where w\ is a rotational speed of the first wheel,

Wj is a rotational speed of the second wheel ,

ay is the first compensation factor for the first and0 second wheels,

/?i,j is the second compensation factor for the first and second wheels,

Wk is a rotational speed of a third wheel,

cui is a rotational speed of a fourth wheel,

5 ak.i is the first compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels, and

/?k,i is the second compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels; and

the second test variable (R2) being derived as:

where y is the third compensation factor for the first and second wheels, and

yk, 1 is the third compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels, and

5 wherein studying the at least one test variable comprises studying the first and second test variables ( R 1 , R2).

6. A computer program product loadable into a non-volatile data carrier communicatively connected to a processing unit, the computer program comprising software for executing the method0 according any of the claims 1 to 5 when the computer program is run on the processing unit.

7. A non-volatile data carrier containing the computer program of the claim 6.

8. A control unit (310) adapted to be comprised in a vehicle

(300) having at least three wheels ( 1 10, 1 20, 130, 140, 150, 160) of which at least one is driven, the control unit (310) being configured to identify low tire pressure in by:

registering a respective rotational speed (wi , 0)2, u)3, w4, cos, o)q) of each wheel of the vehicle;

comparing the rotational speeds pairwise to one another to derive at least one test variable (Ri , Fh) ; and

studying the at least one test variable to check if one or more of the wheels have a tire pressure below a threshold level, characterized in that the control unit (310) is configured to per- form the comparing via a procedure involving :

estimating, for each driven wheel ( 130, 140), a longitudinal slip (s) resulting from a traction torque (T) applied to the driven wheel ;

determining a first compensation factor {a\ ) which cancels out the estimated longitudinal slip (s) resulting from the traction torque (T) on the driven wheel (130, 140) ; and

evaluating the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another in consideration of the first compensation factor ) and wherein the estimated longitudinal slips (s, , Sj ) of the wheels of at least one evaluated pair are mutually different, wherein the control unit (31 0) is configured to compare the rotational speeds (wi , u)2, 0)3 , w4, u)s, we) pairwise to one another via a procedure involving calculating at least one quotient between first and second rotational speeds of first and second wheels respectively. 9. The control unit (31 0) according to claim 8, wherein the control unit (310) is configured to calculate the first compensa- tion factor {a\ ) for first and second wheels as:

1 -s, where: s, is the estimated longitudinal slip for the first wheel,

Sj is the estimated longitudinal slip for the second wheel , 0 < s, <1 and 0 < Sj <1 .

10. The control unit (310) according to any one of claims 8 to 9, wherein the control unit (31 0) is configured to compare the rotational speeds 0)2, u)3, w4, ui5 , we) pairwise to one an- other via a procedure involving determining a second compen- sation factor (b\,\) reflecting respective effective rolling radii (re) of first and second wheels, the second compensation factor (b\,\) cancelling out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels resulting from any differences in the effec- tive rolling radii (re) of the first and second wheels, and the con- trol unit (310) is configured to determine the second compensa- tion factor (b\,\) as:

ri

where n is the unloaded wheel radius ( r uid ) of the first wheel, and

h is the unloaded wheel radius (ruid) of the second wheel , and,

wherein the rotational speeds of the wheels are pairwise evaluated against one another, further in consideration of the second compensation factor {b\,\).

1 1 . The control unit (310) according claim 1 0, wherein the con- trol unit (310) is configured to compare the rotational speeds (wi , ui2 , u)3, w4, u)s, wb) pairwise to one another via a procedure involving determining a third compensation factor reflecting respective deviations from effective rolling radii (re) of first and second wheels resulting from load effects (L 1 -2 , l_ 3-4 , L 5-6 ) on the first and second wheels, the third compensa- tion factor (y , ,j ) cancelling out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels resulting from any differences in load effects on the first and second wheels, and the third compensation factor (y , ,j ) being determined as:

where ridi is an estimated rolling radius of the first wheel re- sulting from a vertical load on the first wheel, and ridj is an estimated rolling radius of the second wheel resulting from a vertical load on the second wheel, and,

wherein the rotational speeds of the wheels are pairwise evaluated against one another, further in consideration of the third compensation factor {g\,\).

12. The control unit (31 0) according to claim 1 1 when depen- dent on claim 10 when further dependent on claim 9, wherein the control unit (310) is configured to derive the at least one test variable by deriving first and second test variables ( R 1 , R2), the first test variable (R1 ) being derived as:

where w\ is a rotational speed of the first wheel,

Wj is a rotational speed of the second wheel , ay is the first compensation factor for the first and second wheels,

/?i,j is the second compensation factor for the first and second wheels,

Wk is a rotational speed of a third wheel,

w\ is a rotational speed of a fourth wheel, ak.i is the first compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels, and

bί,i is the second compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels; and

the second test variable (R2) being derived as:

where y is the third compensation factor for the first and second wheels, and k, i is the third compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels.

13. A vehicle (300) comprising the control unit (310) accordingo any one of claims 8 to 12 for identifying any wheels ( 1 10, 120, 130, 140, 1 50, 1 60) of the vehicle having low tire pressure.

Description:
Method, Control Unit, Computer Program Product and Carrier for Identifying Low Tire Pressure in a Vehicle

TECHNICAL FI ELD

The invention relates generally to indirect tire pressure monito- ring. In particular, the present invention concerns a method for identifying low tire pressure in a vehicle, a control unit imple- menting this method and a vehicle containing the control unit. The invention also relates to a computer program product and a non-volatile data carrier.

BACKGROUND

To ensure safe and reliable operation of a motor vehicle it is im portant to check repeatedly certain key parameters of the vehic- le. The tire pressure is one example of such a parameter. In a direct pressure monitoring system (dTPMS), a respective pres- sure sensor is associated with each monitored tire. An indirect pressure monitoring system (iTPMS) instead derives the tire pressures through other sensors that register parameters being indicative of the tire-pressure status. Indirect tire pressure mo- nitoring is generally preferable because here no dedicated tire- pressure sensors are required, and tire-pressure sensors are re- latively expensive and difficult to service and maintain. Of cour- se, it is especially beneficial to avoid tire sensors in vehicles with many wheels, typically heavy vehicles, such as trucks, bus- ses and the like. However, as will be discussed below, most of today’s iTPMS:s are exclusively designed for automobiles and other types of smaller vehicles.

US 2009/0173149 discloses a method for identifying low-pres- sure tires. The method includes determining the number of revo- lutions of each wheel over a preselected driving distance, and comparing crosswise by summing the number of revolutions of the diagonally opposite front right/rear left and front left/rear right wheels and taking the difference between the sums, a dia- gonal containing a low-pressure tire being identifiable via the sign of the difference between the diagonals. A further compari- son for each side of the vehicle is effected by summing the revo- lutions of the front left/rear left side and front right/rear right si- de wheels and comparing the difference between the sums, the side containing a low-pressure tire being identifiable via the sign of the difference between the sides. The difference between dia- gonals is compared with a low-pressure threshold value. If the threshold is exceeded, the signs of the difference between dia- gonals and between sides are logically combined to identify the low-pressure tire.

US 6,222,444 describes a solution , where wheel speed values for each of four wheels are collected and statistically analyzed axle by axle for a difference which could indicate low tire pres- sure. Prior to analysis, and following reset of the system , cal i- bration factors are determined for each axle to compensate for rolling radius variation, and are subsequently used to correct the percentage difference values for the two wheels on any one axle. When a sufficient number of values have been collected, a to value is calculated for each axle according the paired t-test statistical method or a slight variation thereof. The to value for each axle is then compared to a respective empirical value ba- sed on a predetermined pressure loss. This comparison can pro- vide the basis for a driver warning. Various types of filters can be used prior to calculating the to values to eliminate data that may lead to improper deflation detection.

Thus, solutions for indirect monitoring of tire pressure exist. However, for various reasons, none of these solutions is capab- le of detecting insufficient inflation with sufficient accuracy in heavy vehicles. This may be due to the fact that the known sys- tems are primarily aimed at personal vehicles, and in heavy ve- hicles, the measurement conditions are often more challenging because the load is heavy and/or varies and/or the road quality is poor. SUMMARY

One object of the present invention is therefore to offer an im- proved solution for indirect pressure monitoring, which is suit- able for road vehicles in a very wide range of types and sizes. According to one aspect of the invention, this object is achieved by a method performed in a control unit for identifying low tire pressure in a vehicle that has at least three wheels of which at least one is driven. The method includes the following steps. Registering a respective rotational speed of each wheel of the vehicle; comparing the rotational speeds pairwise to one another to derive at least one test variable; and studying the at least one test variable to check if one or more of the wheels have a tire pressure below a threshold level . In particular, the comparing step involves: estimating, for each driven wheel, a longitudinal slip resulting from a traction torque applied to the driven wheel ; determining a first compensation factor a\ , which cancels out the estimated longitudinal slip resulting from the traction torque; and evaluating the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another in consideration of the first compensation factor a and where the estimated longitudinal slips s, , S j of the wheels of at least one evaluated pair are mutually different wherein the step of pairwise comparing the rotational speeds u)i , 0)2, 0)3, o) 4 , 0)5, 0)6 to one another comprises calculating at least one quotient between first and second rotational speeds of first and second wheels respectively.

This method is advantageous because it reliably and efficiently identifies insufficient tire pressures in any motor vehicle having more than two wheels regardless of the vehicle’s design, weight or propulsion principle. For example, the first compensation factor a\,\ for the first and second wheels may be calculated as: where s, is the estimated longitudinal slip for the first wheel, and S j is the estimated longitudinal slip for the second wheel. The estimated longitudinal slips s, and S j are expressed as unit less factors 0 < s, <1 and 0 < S j <1 respectively, where no long itudi- nal slip corresponds to s, = 0 and S j = 0 respectively.

Consequently, the first compensation factor a\ is unit less and expresses a straightforward adjustment of the quotient between the first and second rotational speeds of the first and second wheels. According to another embodiment of this aspect of the invention, the comparing step further involves determining a second com- pensation factor b \ , reflecting respective effective rolling radii of the first and second wheels. The second compensation factor b\, cancels out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels resulting from any differences in the effec- tive rolling radii of the first and second wheels. The second com- pensation factor b\,\ contains a quotient relating two wheels to one another. Specifically, the second compensation factor b \ , \ is determined as: A L =† T where n is an unloaded wheel radius of the first wheel , and h is an unloaded wheel radius of the second wheel, and wherein the rotational speeds of the wheels are pairwise evaluated against one another, further in consideration of the second compensation factor b , \ .

In other words, the second compensation factor b \ , \ is also unit less and provides a straightforward adjustment of the quotient between the first and second rotational speeds of the first and second wheels. According to still another embodiment of this aspect of the in- vention, the comparing step involves determining a third com- pensation factor g \ , \ reflecting respective deviations from the effective rolling radii of first and second wheels resulting from load effects on the first and second wheels. The third compen- sation factor y\ cancels out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels resulting from any diffe- rences in vertical load on the first and second wheels.

The third compensation factor g \, \ contains a quotient relating two wheels to one another. Specifically, the third compensation factor y\, j is determined as:

where ri di is an estimated rolling radius of the first wheel re- sulting from a vertical load on the first wheel, and ri dj is an estimated rolling radius of the second wheel resulting from a vertical load on the second wheel and

wherein the rotational speeds of the wheels are pairwise evaluated against one another, further in consideration of the third compensation factor y \ .

Naturally, ri di and ri dj not only reflect any radius alteration due to the vertical load however also any differences in the effective rolling radius between the first and second wheels, i .e. the un- loaded measures. Analogous to the above, the third compen- sation factor y\, \ is unit less and provides a straightforward ad- justment of the quotient between the first and second rotational speeds of the first and second wheels.

According to yet another embodiment of this aspect of the in- vention, deriving the at least one test variable involves deriving first and second test variables R i and R2, each of which contains pairs of quotients, where each pair relates the rotational speed of two wheels to one another while compensating for the main factors, which influence the rotational speed for those two wheels. Specifically, the first test variable R1 is derived as:

where w\ is a rotational speed of the first wheel,

W j is a rotational speed of the second wheel ,

ay is the first compensation factor for the first and

5 second wheels,

/?i, j is the second compensation factor for the first and second wheels,

W k is a rotational speed of a third wheel ,

cui is a rotational speed of a fourth wheel,

10 a k .i is the first compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels, and

/?k,i is the second compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels.

The second test variable R2 is derived as:

where y is the third compensation factor for the first and second wheels, and

y k, 1 is the third compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels, and

20 wherein studying the at least one test variable comprises studying the first and second test variables R 1 , R2.

Consequently, via the first and second test variables Ri and R2 respectively, all wheels of a vehicle can be compared against 25 one another in an unbiased manner even if the wheels experien- ce different longitudinal slips, have different tire dimensions and/or are differently influenced by load. Thus, any deviating tire pressures can be identified with high reliability also in heavy vehicles, such as trucks and busses.

30 According to a further aspect of the invention the object is ac- hieved by a computer program containing instructions which, when executed on at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to carry out the above-described method.

According to another aspect of the invention, the object is achie- ved by a non-volatile data carrier containing such a computer program. According to yet another aspect of the invention , the above ob- ject is achieved by a control unit adapted to be comprised in a vehicle having at least three wheels of which at least one is driven. The control unit is configured to identify low tire pressure in by: registering a respective rotational speed of each wheel of the vehicle; comparing the rotational speeds pairwise to one an- other to derive at least one test variable; and studying the at least one test variable to check if one or more of the wheels have a tire pressure below a threshold level. More precisely, the control unit is configured to perform the comparing via a proce- dure that involves: estimating, for each driven wheel, a longitu dinal slip resulting from a traction torque applied to the driven wheel ; determining a first compensation factor, which cancels out the estimated longitudinal slip resulting from the traction tor- que; and evaluating the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another in consideration of first compensation factor and wherein the estimated longitudinal slips of the wheels of at least one evaluated pair are mutually different estimated longitudinal slips. The advantages of this control unit, as well as the preferred embodiments thereof, are apparent from the dis- cussion above with reference to the proposed method.

According to still another aspect of the invention, the object is achieved by a vehicle including the proposed control unit for identifying any wheels of the vehicle that have low tire pressure.

Further advantages, beneficial features and applications of the present invention will be apparent from the following description and the dependent claims.

BRI EF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention is now to be explained more closely by means of preferred embodiments, which are disclosed as examples, and with reference to the attached drawings.

Figures 1 a-b schematically depict the wheels of a vehicle in which an embodiment of the invention is imple- mented;

Figure 2 illustrates an effective rolling radius and a load- influenced wheel radius respectively used accor- ding to embodiments of the invention ;

Figure 3 shows a block diagram of a vehicle according to one embodiment of the invention ;

Figure 4 illustrates a known relationship between traction torque and longitudinal slip of a driven wheel ; and Figure 5 illustrates, by means of a flow diagram, the gene- ral method according to the invention .

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Figure 1 a depicts a schematic top view of the wheels 1 1 0, 1 20, 130, 140, 150 and 160 respectively of a vehicle. In this example a first pair of wheels 1 10 and 1 20 is steerable, a second pair of wheels 130 and 140 is driven and a third pair of wheels 150 and 160 is mounted on a raisable axle. Moreover, the second pair of wheels 130 and 1 40 is doubled and the third pair of wheels has a somewhat smaller radius than the other wheels. It should be noted that in the present disclosure, low tire pressure of an in- dividual wheel in a doubled wheel like 130 and 140 cannot be identified separately. Thus, such doubled wheels are treated as one single wheel.

Referring now to Figure 3, according to the invention, a respec- tive rotational speed u)i , u)2, u)3, w 4 , ui5 and we of each wheel 1 10, 120, 1 30, 140, 150 and 1 60 of the vehicle 300 is registered in a control unit 310. The control unit 31 0 may be implemented in an ECU (Electronic Control Unit), i .e. an embedded system in automotive electronics controlling one or more electrical sys- tems or subsystems in the vehicle 300, for example via a CAN (Controller Area Network) bus. The control unit 31 0 may contain a processing unit with processing means including at least one processor, such as one or more general-purpose processors. Further, this processing unit is further preferably communicati- vely connected to a data carrier in the form computer-readable storage medium, such as a Random Access Memory (RAM), a Flash memory, or the like. The data carrier contains computer- executable instructions, i.e. a computer program , for causing the processing unit and the other units of the system to perform in accordance with the embodiments of the invention as des- cribed herein, when the computer-executable instructions are executed on the at least one processor of the processing unit. The control unit 31 0 is configured compare the rotational speeds oil , 0)2, 0)3 , o)4, 0 ) 5 and 0)6 pairwise to one another to derive one or more test variables. Below, we will describe how two such test variables Ri and R2 are derived according to embodiments of the invention. In particular, the control unit 310 is configured to study the at least one test variable R1 and R2 to check if one or more of the wheels u)i , u)2, u) 3 , w 4 , u ) 5 and u)6 have a tire pressure below a threshold level.

A simple and straightforward way of detecting a loss of inflation pressure is simply to study raw data from wheel speed sensors in the vehicle 300. If a particular wheel suffers from a loss of in- flation pressure, the rotational speed of this wheel increases somewhat resulting from a slight decrease in the wheel’s radius.

A problem with this approach, however, is that reliable rotational speed comparisons can only be made between wheels on the same axle. Further, since the vertical load on each axle may fluctuate substantially due to cargo load, the wheel radius will vary for other reasons than deviating tire pressures. Moreover, as will be discussed in detail below, the rotational speeds of driven and non-driven wheels are complicated to compare to one another.

If, nevertheless, the above factors are temporarily disregarded, we can study the below test variables n and r2 to isolate a sing- le fault in vehicle having four wheels W1 , W2, W3 and W4:

Ideally, n and r2 should both zero if none of the wheels has a deviating/low tire pressure, i.e. in a non-fault scenario (N F in the below table). It should be noted that the test variables n and r2 can only be expected to be close to zero if the vehicle travels relatively straight and neither accelerates nor decelerates subs- tantially.

The table is used as follows. Let us assume that the wheel W4 has an insufficient tire pressure. This leads to that its rotational speed w 4 becomes slightly higher than rotational speeds wi , u) 2 and 0)3 ; and as a further result, both n and r2 will have positive values, i.e. n > 0 and r2 > 0. In the table, this is equivalent to a fault in wheel W4. Analogous conclusions are valid for single pressure faults in the wheels W1 , W2 and W3. Due to various noise effects, the test variables n and r2 will ne- ver actually be zero. In practice, therefore, any absolute values of the test variables n and r2 below a threshold are interpreted as a non-fault scenario. Further, in practice, instead of testing whether a single test variable n and/or r2 is above or below ze- ro, it is preferable to investigate a sequence of test variables and check if an average value of the sequence of test variables is positive or negative in relation an error-free case. Still , the simple test variables n and r2 and the above table are incapable of identifying tire-pressure faults when one or more of the wheels involved are driven and one or more of the wheels invol- ved are non-driven. Therefore, according to the invention , the comparing step involves the below procedure.

For each driven wheel, i.e. 130 and 140 in Figure 1 a, a long itu- dinal slip is estimated, which results from a traction torque app- lied to the driven wheel. Figure 4 exemplifies a relationship bet- ween the longitudinal slip s that results from the traction torque T, the so-called tire-road interaction , or“magic formula”, which is inter alia is described by J . Y. Wong.“Theory of ground vehic- les”, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. , 4 th edition, 2008, pp 14- 15.

As can be seen in the graph, for small longitudinal slips s there is a linear relationship between the traction torque T and the longitudinal slip s. This linear domain is a fair approximation under typical driving conditions (i.e. without extreme accelera- tion or deceleration). This means that longitudinal slip s can be estimated based on a current torque value, which in turn, can be calculated from a drive axle torque causing the traction torque on the wheel.

A first wheel to which a first traction torque T, is applied thus ex- periences an estimated first longitudinal slip Si , and a second wheel to which a second traction torque T j is applied experien- ces an estimated second longitudinal slip Sj . Provided that T j > T i , (and the linear domain is applicable) then S j > s, . Of course, for a non-driven wheel, both the traction torque T and the long i- tudinal slip s are zero. In Figure 4, this is exemplified by S k .

Based on the known relationship between traction torque T and longitudinal slip s, the control unit 310 is configured to determi- ne a first compensation factor a\ , , which cancels out the estima- ted longitudinal slip s resulting from the traction torque T on the driven wheel, i .e. 130 and 1 40 in Figures 1 a and 3.

Then, the control unit 310 is configured to evaluate the rotatio- nal speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another in consi- deration of a first compensation factor a \ and such that the wheels of at least one evaluated pair have mutually different es- timated longitudinal slips s, for example s, , and Sj , s, and S k and / or S j and S k in Figure 4.

Namely, thereby, test variables can be formed based on quo- tients of rotational speeds of wheels mounted on different axles irrespective of whether the axles are driven or not. For example, a front left wheel 1 10 can be compared to a rear right wheel 140 to isolate a fault. This is especially advantageous if multiple faults are present simultaneously. Moreover, the redundancy gained provides robustness to the solution .

According to one embodiment of the invention, the first com- pensation factor a\ for a first wheel and a second wheel is cal- culated as: where: s, is the estimated longitudinal slip for the first wheel,

S j is the estimated longitudinal slip for the second wheel

Here, s, and S j are both unit less variables between zero and one, i.e. 0 < s, <1 and 0 < S j <1 . The longitudinal slip s, in turn , may be calculated as:

v

s = 1 -— ,

co - r e where: v is the velocity of the vehicle 300,

w is the rotational speed of the wheel, and

r e is the effective rolling radius of the wheel. Figure 1 b schematically depicts a side view of the wheels 1 1 0, 130 and 150 of the vehicle 300. Again, as can be seen, the wheels 150 and 1 60 on the raisable third axle have a smaller ra- dius than the other wheels. In order to enable comparison of the rotational speeds wb and we of the wheels 150 and 1 60 respec- tively with for example the rotational speeds w i and of the wheels 1 10 and 120 respectively, according to one embodiment of the invention, the control unit 310 is configured to calculate a second compensation factor /3 I . The second compensation factor /3 I reflects respective effective rolling radii r e of the first and second wheels. The second com- pensation factor /3 I cancels out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels, which rotational speed dif ferences , in turn, result from any differences in the effective rol- ling radii r e of the first and second wheels. According to this em- bodiment of the invention, the second compensation factor /3 I is determined as: where n is an unloaded wheel radius rui d of the first wheel, and h is an unloaded wheel radius rui d of the second wheel .

The control unit 310 is then further configured to evaluate the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another further in consideration of the second compensation factor Thus the second compensation factor /3 I thereby cancels out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels, which rotational speed differences, in turn, is resulting from any differences in the effective rolling radii r e of the first and second wheels.

Ideally, of course, the effective rolling radii r e of the first and se- cond wheels should be used to determine the second compen- sation factor /3 I . However, in practice, the respective unloaded wheel radii rui d constitute adequate approximations to provide reliable results.

Thus, in a scenario where first, second, third and fourth wheels, say 1 10, 1 20, 130 and 140 respectively, are to be compared to one another in order to identify potential tire-pressure losses, the first variable Ri may be derived as: where w\ is a rotational speed of the first wheel,

W j is a rotational speed of the second wheel ,

ay is the first compensation factor for the first and second wheels,

/?i, j is the second compensation factor for the first and second wheels,

W k is a rotational speed of a third wheel,

cui is a rotational speed of a fourth wheel, a k .i is the first compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels, and

/3 k, i is the second compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels.

Figure 1 b schematically shows how a first vertical load L1 -2 is applied over a first axle onto which the wheels 1 10 and 120 are mounted, a second vertical load L3-4 is applied over a second axle onto which the wheels 130 and 140 are mounted, and a third vertical load L5- 6 is applied over a third axle onto which the wheels 150 and 160 are mounted. Figure 2 further illustrates how the effective rolling radius r e may differ from an actual ra- dius ri d of a wheel under the influence of a load. Figure 2 also shows the unloaded wheel radius r uid , i.e. a tire dimension com- pletely uninfluenced by loads, or any other size modifying fac tors.

In order to compensate also for differences in wheel radii cau- sed by various load factors, the second test variable R2 may be derived as: where 7 i, j is a third compensation factor for the first and se cond wheels, and

k , 1 is the third compensation factor for the third and fourth wheels.

Studying the at least one test variable then comprises studying the first and second test variables Ri and R 2 .

According to one embodiment of the invention , the third com- pensation factor k, i , in turn , is determined as:

Idj

where ri di is an estimated rolling radius of the first wheel e.g . 1 30, resulting from a vertical load L 3-4 /2 on this wheel, and

ri dj is an estimated rolling radius of the second wheel, e.g. 150, resulting from a vertical load L 5-6 /2 on this wheel.

Hence, the third compensation factor y\, \ reflects respective de- viations from the effective rolling radii r e of first and second wheels 130 and 1 50 that result from vertical loads l_ 3-4 ,/2 and L 5-6 /2 respectively on these wheels. The third compensation factor y\, j cancels out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels 130 and 150 caused any differences in load effects on the first and second wheels. The third com- pensation factor g \, \ is determined as:

where estimated rolling radius of the first wheel resulting from a vertical load on the first wheel , and ri dj is an estimated rolling radius of the second wheel resulting from a vertical load on the second wheel. The control unit 310 is then further configured to evaluate the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another further in consideration of the third compensation factor {Y\,\). Thus the third compensation factor ( , ) thereby cancels out differences in rotational speeds between the first and second wheels, which rotational speed differences, in turn, is resulting from any differences in load effects on the first and second wheels. It should be noted that, if there are also differences in the effective rolling radii between the first and second wheels 130 and 150 (as in the present example), this is also reflected in the estimated rolling radii ri di and ri dj . I.e. the estimated rolling radii ridi and ridj express respective actual wheel measures resulting from a combination of the effective rolling radii and the vertical loads.

To further improve the quality of the proposed method, a so-cal- led cumulative-sum (cusum) test may be applied distinguish no- fault cases from faulty cases. The cusum test relies on differen- ces in mean values and integrates these mean values over time.

Let a test quantity FT commonly denote the above test variables Ri and R2. Ri is then evaluated in each time step k to create test quantity S that is compared against desired thresholds.

For example, the test quantity S can be evaluated to find a posi- tive or negative shift in the mean value, as stated in:

S max (k + 1 ) = max(0, S max (k) + R, (k) + v, ) and

S min (0) = 0

S min (k + 1) = min(0,S min (k)-R i (k) + v 2 ) where vi and V2 are safety factors adapted to push the test quantity Ri towards zero for the no fault cases. Namely, in prac- tice, the test variables Ri and R2 will not have an exact mean value of zero, i .e. when no faults are present. At the same time, each safety factor vi and V2 should have a small enough value to allow for the test quantity Ri to go towards plus or minus infi nity depending on if the shift in the mean value is positive or ne- gative. Consequently, setting the safety factors vi and V2 is a matter of choosing between robustness against false alarm and promptness to detect actual faults. In order to sum up, and with reference to the flow diagram in Figure 5, we will now describe the general method according to the invention for identifying low tire pressure. The method pre- sumes that the vehicle has at least three wheels. However, of course, four wheels is the typical minimum for a standard auto- mobile. Moreover, it should be noted that there is no upper limit. Thus, for example, the method is equally well adapted for 18- wheeler trucks.

In a first step 51 0, a respective rotational speed of each wheel of the vehicle is registered. In a subsequent step 520, a respective longitudinal slip is esti- mated for each driven wheel, which longitudinal slip results from the traction torque on the wheel in question.

Thereafter, in a step 530, at least a first compensation factor a \ is determined, which cancels out the estimated longitudinal slips estimated in step 520.

In a following step 540, the rotational speeds of the wheels are evaluated pairwise against one another in consideration of the at least one first compensation factor a \ in such a manner that the wheels of at least one evaluated pair have mutually different estimated longitudinal slips, i.e. either driven against non-dri- ven ; or driven against driven, but driven at different traction tor- que. Additionally or alternatively, evaluating the rotational speeds of the wheels pairwise against one another, in consideration of the first compensation factor a\ and where the estimated longitudinal slips s, , S j of the wheels of at least one evaluated pair are mutually different wherein the step of pairwise comparing the rotational speeds u i , u)2, 0)3, w 4 , u)s, u) 6 to one another comprises calculating at least one quotient between first and second rotational speeds of first and second wheels respectively. In one example, wheels are evaluated pairwise by forming the pairs (1 1 0, 160) , (120, 150), (1 40/160) and (130, 150). In other words. In other words forming wheel pairs where the estimated longitudinal slips ( S i , Sj ) of the wheels of evaluated pairs are mutually different, or where slips of at least one evaluated pair is different. E.g. calculating the quotients:

The first test variable Ri and the second test variable R2 can then be derived using the calculated quotients. This procedure is further described in relation to Figures 1 b and 3 above. Studying R1 and R2 to check if one or more of the wheels have a tire pressure below a threshold level can be done using the table described in relation to Figure 3 above. Optionally or additionally a cusum test can be performed by calculating the test quantity S over time, as further described in relation to Figures 1 b and 3 above.

Subsequently a step 550 checks if each of at least one test vari- able derived in step 540 is acceptable; and if so, the procedure loops back to step 510.

Otherwise, i.e. if one or more of the at least one test variable indicates a fault, a step 560 follows in which one or more wheels are identified which have a tire pressure below a threshold level. Then, the procedure loops back to step 510.

If, in step 550 at least one pressure-related fault is encountered, the procedure preferably also involves notifying a driver of this fault, for example via an indicator on the vehicle’s instrument cluster, a heads-up display and/or a portable device, e.g. a smart- phone. Additionally, or as an alternative, a message describing the fault may be sent to an appropriate workshop. All of the process steps, as well as any sub-sequence of steps, described with reference to Figure 5 above may be controlled by means of at least one programmed processor. Moreover, although the embodiments of the invention described above with reference to the drawings comprise processor and processes performed in at least one processor, the invention thus also extends to com- puter programs, particularly computer programs on or in a carrier, adapted for putting the invention into practice. The program may be in the form of source code, object code, a code intermediate source and object code such as in partially compiled form, or in any other form suitable for use in the implementation of the pro- cess according to the invention. The program may either be a part of an operating system, or be a separate application. The carrier may be any entity or device capable of carrying the program. For example, the carrier may comprise a storage medium, such as a Flash memory, a ROM (Read Only Memory), for example a DVD (Digital Video/Versatile Disk), a CD (Compact Disc) or a semi- conductor ROM, an EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory), an EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory), or a magnetic recording medium, for ex- ample a floppy disc or hard disc. Further, the carrier may be a transmissible carrier such as an electrical or optical signal which may be conveyed via electrical or optical cable or by radio or by other means. When the program is embodied in a signal which may be conveyed directly by a cable or other device or means, the carrier may be constituted by such cable or device or means. Alternatively, the carrier may be an integrated circuit in which the program is embedded, the integrated circuit being adapted for performing, or for use in the performance of, the relevant proces- ses. The term“comprises/comprising” when used in this specification is taken to specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps or components. However, the term does not preclude the presen- ce or addition of one or more additional features, integers, steps or components or groups thereof. The invention is not restricted to the described embodiments in the figures, but may be varied freely within the scope of the claims.