ELECTRIC POWER STEERING APPARATUS
 Inventors: Yasuo Shimizu; Shigenori Takimoto,
both of Wako, Japan
 Assignee: Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha, Tokyo, Japan
 Appl. No.: 09/113,930
 Filed: Jul. 10, 1998
 Foreign Application Priority Data
Jul. 24, 1997 [JP] Japan 9-198988
 Int. C I. B62D 4 04
 U.S. CI 180/446; 180/443; 701/41;
 Field of Search 701/41, 42; 180/443,
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,890,683 1/1990 Matsuda et al 180/446
5,265,019 11/1993 Harara et al 701/41
5,423,391 6/1995 Shimizu 180/446
5,887,675 3/1999 Hackl et al 180/422
5,996,724 12/1999 Shimizu et al 180/446
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
0 596 167 5/1994 European Pat. Off. .
4-9708 2/1992 Japan .
7-257406 10/1995 Japan .
Primary Examiner—Daniel G. DePumpo
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Merchant & Gould PC.
Variable gear ratio mechanism variably sets a ratio defining a pivot angle of steered wheels of the vehicle to a steering angle of a steering wheel of the vehicle. Electric motor applies an electric steering assist to the steering system of the vehicle. Steering torque sensor detects steering torque in the steering system. Control unit sets a target motor current on the basis of at least the steering torque detected by the steering torque sensor. Gear ratio detector detects the gear ratio set by the variable gear ratio mechanism. Thus, the control unit sets the target motor current on the basis of the gear ratio detected by the gear ratio detector in addition to the steering torque detected by the steering torque sensor. With this arrangement, the target motor current set by the control unit can reflect the currently-set gear ratio, with the result that the operating characteristics of the vehicle's steering system can be changed smoothly and continuously in response to every gear ratio change and an improved steering feel free of unsmoothness and friction is achieved.
1 Claim, 12 Drawing Sheets