The work presents an approach to instrument the load sensing bearings for automotive applications for estimation of the loads acting on the wheels. The system comprises fiber-optic sensors based on addressed fiber Bragg structures (AFBS) with two symmetrical phase shifts. A mathematical model for load-deformation relation is presented, and the AFBS interrogation principle is described. The simulation includes (i) modeling of vehicle dynamics in a split-mu braking test, during which the longitudinal wheel loads are obtained, (ii) the subsequent estimation of bearing outer ring deformation using a beam model with simply supported boundary conditions, (iii) the conversion of strain into central wavelength shift of AFBS, and (iv) modeling of the beating signal at the photodetector. The simulation results show that the estimation error of the longitudinal wheel force from the strain data acquired from a single measurement point was 5.44% with root-mean-square error of 113.64 N. A prototype load sensing bearing was instrumented with a single AFBS sensor and mounted in a front right wheel hub of an experimental vehicle. The experimental setup demonstrated comparable results with the simulation during the braking test. The proposed system with load-sensing bearings is aimed at estimation of the loads acting on the wheels, which serve as input parameters for active safety systems, such as automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, or fully automated driving, in order to enhance their effectiveness and safety of the vehicle.
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