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Students drive ahead idea of 4-wheel steering

Published: 17th June 2013 12:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th June 2013 12:33 PM   |  A+A-

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Mechanical engineering students of Sri Revana Siddeshwara Institute of Technology (SRSIT) exhibited their final-year project at Bangalore Press Club on Thursday. The exhibition threw up some interesting designs that the students had worked on for over three months. Among these were a solar-powered water pump with automatic water level controller, a hybrid car and a four-wheel steering system.

Budding inventors, Nithin S Karia, Renjith R, Nikhil Prakash, and Siraj T I, mentored by their professor Nagaraj K C, came up with a car model that has a four-wheel steering. Their eureka moment being when

they spotted a BMTC bus requiring a lot of space to make a turn and inconveniencing other vehicles on the road.

What is 4WS

A concept that has been explored earlier, but never quite established itself in the mainstream, four-wheel steering, also known as 4WS, has numerous merits the Indian public can appreciate.

The steering wheel is traditionally linked only to the two front wheels, and the rear wheels are made to follow. Four-wheel steering essentially uses all the wheels to take a turn. It should not be confused with a 4WD (four-wheel drive) where all the four wheels are powered.

“In a country where managing space is imperative, and hatchbacks and small-size cars reign, a feature that eases making turns like the 4WS is more than welcome,” say the four students.

The four-wheel steering increases road stability, helps make tighter turns and increases the manoeuvrability of a vehicle. Since it allows vehicles to turn in a significantly smaller radius, it is a critical feature for larger vehicles. Sports utility vehicles, buses, trucks and even cars with a trailer can benefit from 4WS as it corrects oversteering, and, in smaller cars, understeering. This system decreases the driver’s effort, and makes turning a minimal effort exercise and, in that, is similar to power steering.

Proud mentor

Says the students’ professor and project guide Nagaraj, “I am proud of my students and happy for what they have achieved. They worked very hard and spent many nights working on their project.”

The model was made on a budget of Rs 70,000. Nikhil says, “Four-wheel steering is routinely used in military vehicles, and a few regular cars none of which is available in India. If only more people became aware of this technology, it could be widely implemented.”

When asked about plans for the future, the students expressed their wish to become automobile engineers for affluent corporations. “That way we can truly bring our dreams to reality,” they chorus.

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