The South African Council for Automation and Control will be hosting an
online evening talk on the modelling and optimal control of motorcycles in
closed-circuit racing.

This lecture concerns primarily the use of optimal control in closed-circuit
motorcycle racing. I was recently asked: is the optimal control of the
motorcycle easier, or harder than its four-wheeled counterpart? Motorcycle
modelling and control is significantly more difficult, but it is also appreciably more interesting.

The lecture will start with a brief review of the history of bicycles and
motorcycle modelling. This will include such things as design evolutions,
modelling developments, and the importance of tyres and the frame
(especially for motorcycles). Some of the interesting control features of two wheeled vehicles will also be discussed.

The subtleties relating to the ability of bicycles to “stay up” or self-stabilise
has given rise to several bar-room myths. Many people think this ability to
“balance” is due to gyroscopic influences. Another theory is that self balancing is due to “trail”. One also hears talk of “shimmy”, “tank-slapper”,
“fish-tailing”, and “death wobble”; all are used to describe vehicular
oscillations of some kind. Some interesting video will be used to cover these aspects of the lecture.

The last part of the lecture will deal with closed-circuit motorcycle racing and the solution of the associated optimal control problems. To validate
modelling assumptions relating to the minimum-time optimal control
problem, a comparison will be made between simulation results and track
telemetry data. The vehicle used in the experimental work is representative
of a 1000 cc, 4-stroke, production motorcycle (World Superbike class). The
tests were conducted in a private test session with a professional test rider.
The minimum-lap-time handling properties of the vehicle will be analysed.

More information on this event


This event is ideal for those interested in the dynamics and optimal control
of motorcycles as well as he broader community of people interest in model
and optimal control


David Limebeer received his BSc (Eng) (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1974, the MSc (Eng) (cum laude) and PhD degrees from the
University of Natal in 1977 and 1980, respectively, the DSc (Eng) degree from the University of London in 1992, and an MA degree from Oxford University in 2009 (conferred by resolution).

He was a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Cambridge, from 1980 to 1984. He then joined the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department, Imperial College London, as a Lecturer. He was promoted to Reader in 1989, Professor in 1993, Head of the Control Group in 1996, and then Head of Department 1999–2009. From 2009 until his retirement, he was a Statutory Professor of control engineering at the University of Oxford, and a Professorial Fellow with the New College, Oxford. He is currently a Distinguished Professor with the University of Johannesburg, and an Extraordinary Professor with the University of Pretoria. He is also an Emeritus Professor with the University of Oxford, an Emeritus Fellow with New College, Oxford.
His current research interests include applied and theoretical problems in control systems and engineering dynamics. Prof. Limebeer was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 1992, and then Life Fellow in 2018, Fellow of the IET in 1994, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1997, and Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute in 2002. He received two South African Institute of Electrical Engineers Prizes and award certificates in 1980 and 1983, and the O. Hugo Schuck best paper
award at the American Control Conference (with K. Glover) in 1983. He was awarded the 2015 IET Tustin Lecture, and the 2019 Honeywell International Medal from the Institute of Measurement and Control.


Please register online down below
(This event is free of charge)


Keri Caitlin Soldo – Secretariat
South African Council for Automation and Control
Tel: (011) 021 8196


Wednesday 29 September 2021
Start: 17h30
End: 19h00


Access will be via email with an access link to WEBEX the day before the event.
Prior registration is required to receive the invite.



Tickets are no longer available.

© 2016 South African Council for Automatic Control