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Turning an articulated truck on a spreadsheet

Author - Jim McGovern

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Using the truck-steering spreadsheet

In the example described here, the spreadsheet was used to investigate the clearance to the front and to the right that would be required for an articulated truck to exit a roadworthiness-testing lane and do a U-turn. It was straightforward to plot the exit opening. Using the built-in function MAX the north-most and east-most positions along the path line of the appropriate principal point on the articulated truck were found as the maximum Y- and X-ordinates of the path respectively. A cell was designated to hold the desired minimum approach clearance between the truck and the walls. Hence the positions of the front- and sidewalls were calculated, and the walls were plotted automatically on the plan-view diagram on the Paths sheet.

Many other situations could be examined using the approach that has been described here, for example, how various articulated trucks might negotiate a particular roundabout, turn onto a side road or steer around a series of obstacles.


This paper demonstrates the use of a spreadsheet application to solve engineering problems relating to the turning or steering of articulated trucks. The same techniques, or some of them, could be used in a wide variety of engineering situations. The approach and methodology could also be adapted readily to form the basis of a software application for analysing truck-steering problems. A search of the World Wide Web indicted that programs for this purpose do exist. However, this paper has shown that it is possible to turn an articulated truck on a spreadsheet.

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