The differential drive assist steering (DDAS) system makes full use of the advantages of independent control of wheel torque of electric vehicle driven by front in-wheel motors to achieve steering assistance and reduce the steering effort of the driver, as the electric power steering (EPS) system does. However, as an indirect steering assist technology that applies steering system assistance via differential drive, its linear control algorithm, like existing proportion integration differentiation (PID) controllers, cannot take the nonlinear characteristics of the tires’ dynamics into account which results in poor performance in road feeling and tracking accuracy. This paper introduces an active disturbance rejection control (ADRC) method into the control issue of the DDAS. First, the third-order ADRC controller of the DDAS is designed, and the simulated annealing algorithm is used to optimize the parameters of ADRC controller offline considering that the parameters of ADRC controller are too many and the parameter tuning is complex. Finally, the 11-DOF model of the electric vehicle driven by in-wheel motors is built, and the standard working conditions are selected for simulation and experimental verification. The results show that the ADRC controller designed in this paper can not only obviously reduce the steering wheel effort of the driver like PID controller, but also have better nonlinear control performance in tracking accuracy and smooth road feeling of the driver than the traditional PID controller.
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