In this paper, we consider the problem of designing an algorithm for estimating the stroke of a pushrod of the air brake system. The stroke of pushrod directly relates to the braking force available at the wheels and also affects the response time. The longer the stroke, the volume available for expansion is larger and correspondingly, the response is slower. The stroke depends on the clearance between the brake pad and the drum, which can vary due to variety of factors such as thermal expansion of drum and mechanical wear. Typical safety inspections of air brakes include the measurement of the stroke of the pushrod of each brake chamber. Regulations on trucks such Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 121 require the inspection to be carried out at 90 psi supply pressure and at full brake application. The evolution of the brake pressure depends on the stroke of the pushrod and the area of the treadle valve, which is controlled by the driver. The treadle valve meters compressed air from the supply reservoir to the brake chamber. The proposed scheme requires the measurement of pressure and a model for predicting the evolution of brake chamber pressure in response to full application of the brake (brake pedal is fully depressed). We experimentally corroborate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

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