Vehicle active safety receives ever increasing attention in the attempt to achieve zero accidents on the road. In this paper, we investigate a control architecture that has the potential of improving yaw stability control by achieving faster convergence and reduced impact on the longitudinal dynamics. We consider a system where active front steering and differential braking are available and propose a model predictive control (MPC) strategy to coordinate the actuators. We formulate the vehicle dynamics with respect to the tire slip angles and use a piecewise affine (PWA) approximation of the tire force characteristics. The resulting PWA system is used as prediction model in a hybrid MPC strategy. After assessing the benefits of the proposed approach, we synthesize the controller by using a switched MPC strategy, where the tire conditions (linear/saturated) are assumed not to change during the prediction horizon. The assessment of the controller computational load and memory requirements indicates that it is capable of real-time execution in automotive-grade electronic control units. Experimental tests in different maneuvers executed on low-friction surfaces demonstrate the high performance of the controller.
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