In this study, a new computational approach for parameter identification is proposed based on the application of the polynomial chaos theory. The polynomial chaos method has been shown to be considerably more efficient than Monte Carlo in the simulation of systems with a small number of uncertain parameters. In the new approach presented in this paper, the maximum likelihood estimates are obtained by minimizing a cost function derived from the Bayesian theorem. Direct stochastic collocation is used as a less computationally expensive alternative to the traditional Galerkin approach to propagate the uncertainties through the system in the polynomial chaos framework. The new parameter estimation method is illustrated on a four degree-of-freedom roll plane model of a vehicle in which the vertical stiffnesses of the tires are estimated from periodic observations of the displacements and velocities across the suspensions. The results obtained with this approach are close to the actual values of the parameters even when only measurements with low sampling rates are available. The accuracy of the estimations has been shown to be sensitive to the number of terms used in the polynomial expressions and to the number of collocation points, and thus it may become computationally expensive when a very high accuracy of the results is desired. However, the noise level in the measurements affects the accuracy of the estimations as well. Therefore, it is usually not necessary to use a large number of terms in the polynomial expressions and a very large number of collocation points since the addition of extra precision eventually affects the results less than the effect of the measurement noise. Possible applications of this theory to the field of vehicle dynamics simulations include the estimation of mass, inertia properties, as well as other parameters of interest.

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