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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Vol. 35 No. 4, October 1998
Pages 42 — 47

A steering linkage for short wheelbase vehicles: Design and evaluation in a wheelchair power base--A technical note

David M. Brienza, PhD and Clifford E. Brubaker, PhD

Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Abstract--An Ackerman steering linkage for short wheelbase, four-wheel vehicles has been developed. The linkage coordinates the steering angle of each wheel through a range of 180° with minimal misalignment between wheels. Control of steering angles is accomplished using a single linear actuator. Control complexity is lower compared to four-wheel systems using individually controlled steering actuators for each wheel. A prototype linkage that provides a minimum turning radius while maintaining maximum stability has been developed and evaluated for a power wheelchair base. The single-actuator linkage is well suited for this application, due to the cost-sensitive nature of wheelchair products.

Key words: spinal cord injury, steering linkage, wheelchair.


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