WASP doctoral student with a focus on safety

The ever-increasing amounts of information from the many sensors with which cars are now fitted can be used to create active safety systems. In his licentiate thesis, Victor Fors examines how a car behaves when it is at the very limit of what it can achieve when avoiding a collision.

Victor ForsVictor Fors Photo credit: Monica WestmanIt is expected that driverless cars will reduce accidents, but they can only do so when equipped with active safety systems. These are systems that cause a car to brake and avoid an obstacle autonomously, and subsequently stop in the roadway. Victor Fors has presented his licentiate thesis at Vehicular Systems, describing work in which he has looked at what happens when the car makes a manoeuvre which is close to the limit of what it can achieve in order to avoid a collision.

The thesis is part of the huge Wallenberg Autonomous System and Software Program (WASP), financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. Victor Fors is one of the first participants in the programme to present a licentiate thesis. He is also part of the strategic research environment within IT and mobile communication, ELLIIT, funded by the Swedish government.

Using computer models

“It’s interesting to look at what happens when you force a car to carry out a manoeuvre that is right at the limit of what’s possible. We study this using a computer model of a car, where modern optimisation techniques allow us to determine the optimal manoeuvres,” says Victor Fors.

The aim in the short term is to get an idea of what the optimal manoeuvres look like. In the longer term, the researchers aim to incorporate insights from the thesis into a safety system for driverless vehicles.
Victor ForsVictor Fors Photo credit: Monica Westman
“We are obtaining increasing amounts of information about both the car and the surroundings from the many sensors fitted to the car. This information can be used to create better safety systems,” he says.

What he has studied are the forces that act on the car and its tyres during a sudden collision-avoidance manoeuvre. This is a safety-critical situation in which the car is forced to both brake and swerve. The magnitude and direction of the forces depend on the size and model of the car, but Victor Fors has even so been able to reveal some common factors.

Direct forces in one direction

For example, it has become clear that a safety system must be able to direct as much force as possible in one direction. The project will continue to look at how the individual wheels should be braked and how the car should be steered in order to produce the behaviour desired. The next step will include practical experiments on vehicles within the framework of the WASP Autonomous Research Arenas, WARA.

“The insights we have achieved so far bring us a step closer to an optimal safety system,” says Victor Fors.


The licentiate thesis: Optimal Braking Patterns and Forces in Autonomous Safety-Critical Maneuvers, Victor Fors, Vehicle Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Linköping University, 2018. Principal supervisor: Professor Lars Nielsen.

Translation George Farrants

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