Lauren Tabolinksy, Student Competition Program Specialist at MathWorks, shares her thoughts and congratulations with the winners of the Year Two MathWorks Modeling Award:
This year, MathWorks sponsored a Modeling Award for the Year Two Competition. EcoCAR 2 teams were assessed on how well they applied Model-Based Design concepts using MathWorks tools, including the key areas of plant modeling, control design and tuning, data analysis, industrial grade model-based design development process elements and lessons learned.
Eleven EcoCAR 2 teams participated in the MathWorks Modeling Award this year, and in the end, the University of Victoria took home the top prize. They used online and offline parallel optimization of fuel economy at the vehicle level and MathWorks was very impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of the student presenters.
MathWorks is one of the leading developers of mathematical computer software and just one of the instrumental sponsors that make the EcoCAR project possible.
At The Ohio State University, EcoCAR 2 students wouldn’t know where to start in rebuilding their vehicle without the use of MathWorks software. The OSU team uses MathWorks software in a number of different areas, including engine control, vehicle performance simulation and testing to ensure safe and reliable software to operate the vehicle.
The engine that the OSU team chose to use for the EcoCAR competition was originally a compressed natural gas (CNG) engine. In order to make the engine work for the competition, the team converted the engine to run on ethanol fuel. This conversion was made possible through the use of MathWorks software such as Matlab and Simulink, which allowed the team to rewrite the entire engine control code.
Another aspect of collaboration between MathWorks and OSU has been the development of a vehicle simulator developed by the Ohio State team called EcoSIM. Without the use of MathWorks software to create this model, it would be impossible to test the Malibu controls outside of the actual vehicle. EcoSIM makes it possible for the team to develop and refine the control software to make sure the vehicle is functioning properly.
Finally, the team has been using model coverage, another valuable tool in the MathWorks software. Model coverage tools can tell the team which areas of control code have or have not been fully tested, thus improving the safety and functionality of the vehicle controls before testing them in the vehicle. However, to get this model working properly for the team, the team had to reach out to MathWorks for some additional support.
The Ohio State’s MathWorks mentor, Shaun Kalinowski, helped the OSU team work to develop and refine their model coverage system for the vehicle.
“Amanda Hyde contacted me because she wanted to take her test and verification for her model one step further. Amanda wanted to actually do further verification to ensure that her team’s model was error free. This was the first time I had seen an EcoCAR team try to take these next steps in model verification. Amanda was having some issues getting her model to run correctly. It didn’t take us very long to work together before she had Simulink verification giving model analysis results,” Shawn Kalinowski said.
Shaun, who has been an EcoCAR mentor for over four years, has enjoyed his time as a mentor. ”It has been fun and very rewarding to see student engineers take their concepts and get them functioning and working on a vehicle leveraging all the technology. This is very encouraging to me, and it should be encouraging to all of us, because these really are the next generation of engineers that are going to be designing the cars that you and I drive in.”
Without the use of MathWorks software, the Ohio State team would not be able to accomplish the entire Vehicle Development Process in the competition timeline of three years. MathWorks involvement has made it possible for the Ohio State team to safely and efficiently rebuild their 2013 Chevy Malibu!
MathWorks is proud to announce the MathWorks Modeling Award for Year Two of EcoCAR 2! The award will be structured to provide a cash prize to the team that best applies MathWorks tools in support of the Year Two competition deliverables.
The teams must demonstrate how they have applied the core concepts of model-based design with MathWorks tools to help achieve the overall competition objectives. They must also show the judges models that address plant modeling, control design and tuning, data analysis, industrial grade model-based design development process elements and lessons learned.
The award will be judged based on a 25-35 minute walk-through of the teams’ MATLAB/Simulink models and a follow-up Q&A session. There will be no PowerPoint slides required or allowed in this event.
Teams can find the official event operations description for the MathWorks Modeling Award on the EcoCAR 2 SharePoint. The deadline to apply for the award is May 9, 2013, with presentations occurring on May 22, 2013 at the Westin Gaslamp in San Diego, California. Teams are encouraged to reach out to their MathWorks mentors with any questions.
Sitting in the lab for hours on end, one Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team member has dedicated his time to developing the vehicle’s auxiliary power unit (APU) supervisory control algorithm—and it’s just as challenging as it sounds.
“The biggest thing is just getting it all to work together right now,” said controls team member Sam Foran.
Foran said the APU consists of the UQM generator and Weber engine coupled together. It’s the difference between an all-electric and a hybrid vehicle. When the vehicle needs more power, the APU will kick on to create additional electricity from the E-85 powered engine so the operator is not forced to plug the vehicle in to recharge it completely.
Using MATLAB, Simulink, MotoHawk and Stateflow, Foran is working on the algorithm that will control the unit to determine exactly when the generator and engine should turn on. He is also developing a charge-sustaining button that will automatically kick in to maintain the charge level.
Although the most important thing right now is getting the generator up and running, next year the team will focus on refinement and reducing emissions further.
MathWorks has provided Colorado State University students with unparalleled software tools that will both expand their education and prepare them for their futures as engineers. MathWorks contributed to the CSU Vehicle Innovation Team (CSU VIT) by providing Matlab, the company’s prime computing software, for team members’ use from the initial stage of the design process all the way to implementation of the controls on the vehicle.
EcoCAR 2 students are fortunate to have the opportunity to gain experience using MathWorks software directly from team mentors. MathWorks Applications Engineer Wit Nursilo has been a technical mentor for the CSU EcoCAR 2 team for the past two years. He has visited the team on multiple occasions at the CSU Motorsports Engineering Research Center (MERC) and conducted several educational sessions with students. Initially, the team struggled with learning how to create and validate controllers virtually. During his visit to the MERC, Nursilo worked with the team to guide them through this process.
CSU EcoCAR 2 team members used MathWorks software in the early stages of the design process to determine the optimal size of the electric motor, battery pack, and fuel cells necessary to meet competition requirements. Matlab was also used to verify the fuel economy, power and battery driving range that could be expected during normal vehicle operation.
Learning to use MathWorks software such as Matlab and Simulink not only benefits students in the competition but also gives them a leg up as they pursue work within real world automotive engineering fields.
According to Peter Riedo, a controls team member, “[MathWorks is] an industry standard software and it’s really powerful. You can pretty much do anything with it.” Riedo, who attended the EcoCAR 2 Fall 2012 Workshop in Boston, explained that he was offered a position as a testing and calibration engineer with General Motors in part because of his ability to use MathWorks software.
To see the effects that the sponsorship has made, you only have to observe the quality of the students and careers that will undoubtedly result. The majority of positions EcoCAR 2 graduates will seek in the professional world involve the use of MathWorks software. Jake Bucher, graduate team leader, says he will be able to utilize MathWorks software from his graduate research all the way up to his research for industry. Undergraduate Controls team member Benjamin Johnke agrees—he can “hit the ground running” when he enters the professional world because he will already know how to use MathWorks software.
The CSU VIT is grateful for MathWorks sponsorship to the EcoCAR 2 competition. Check out the video below to learn more!
MathWorks, a diamond sponsor for EcoCAR 2, has assisted teams through donated software, in-depth training and even hosting this year’s Fall Workshop! Watch the video below to learn more about how MathWorks is helping EcoCAR 2 competitors build greener vehicle designs that work.
During the Fall Workshop, teams received an update on Year Two competition rules, upcoming deliverables and EcoCAR events for the coming year from members of the EcoCAR 2 Executive Steering Committee. The teams also had the opportunity to receive valuable and extensive training in donated software and components from MathWorks, dSPACE, Freescale, Siemens and CD-Adapco.
In addition to the technical training and sessions, communications managers and business managers each had their own dedicated tracks in which they learned about the communications and business deliverables for the year. The communications managers participated in media relations and video production training, while the business managers focused on training involving project management hosted by EarthPM and sponsor relations.
Teams also had the opportunity to attend various special events throughout the workshop. To open the workshop, students were invited to a Sponsor Social Networking and Recruiting event and an engineering career panel featuring Paul Smith of MathWorks, Phil Shaw of AVL, John Cotner of Freescale, Steven Boyd from the U.S. Department of Energy and John Haraf of General Motors. The students then participated in a fun night at F1 Boston hosted by MathWorks, where they went head-to-head with fellow students and sponsors on the track. In the end, Ed Argalas from General Motors reigned supreme with a top time of 15.98 seconds with Owen Shermo of Penn State and Jonathan Camp of Embry-Riddle finishing second and third, respectively. For the final night of workshop, students were given a tour of Fenway Park and dinner at Game On! in downtown Boston.
EcoCAR would like to thank everyone for coming to Boston and send out a special thank you to MathWorks for hosting such a wonderful event!
General Motors talking to a CSULA Student at the Sponsor Social
Last night, teams arrived at the EcoCAR 2 Fall Workshop in Natick, MA. After registering with EcoCAR organizers, students mingled with sponsors at a Sponsor Social Networking and Recruiting event. Students spent part of the evening mingling with representatives from competition-level sponsors at booths hosted by recruiters from each organization. The sponsors’ exhibits allow students to learn more about those organizations and network with industry leaders, and they also provided an outlet for sponsors to hear more about the status of the teams.
Teams also had the chance to attend an Engineering Career Panel in the evening. Experts from government and private industry discussed their unique career paths in the engineering field. The panel allowed the students a rare look into the professional lives of the panelists. Those panelists included Paul Smith of MathWorks, who moderated the panel and shared his own experiences, as well as Phil Shaw of AVL, John Cotner of Freescale, Steven Boyd from the U.S. Department of Energy, and John Haraf of General Motors. Key topics for the panelists included the reason they chose the automotive industry, work cultures at their respective companies and what roles mentors played for them in their professional careers.
As students seek jobs in the engineering field, wisdom from those with years of experience is invaluable, and one of the reasons why EcoCAR 2 gives students unique preparation for their future.
Over the next few days, teams will have the chance to race at F1 Boston, tour Fenway Park, and explore downtown Boston! Check out the Green Garage Blog, Facebook, and Twitter for updates throughout the Fall Workshop!
“MathWorks is pleased to host the EcoCAR 2 Fall Workshop at our headquarters in Natick, MA,” said Paul Smith, Director of Consulting Services at MathWorks. “It’s a great opportunity to have future engineers who will undoubtedly play a role in the advances of automotive technology on-site for hands-on training. We look forward to an action packed week of learning and team-building activities!”
During the Fall Workshop, teams will receive an update on Year Two competition rules, upcoming deliverables and EcoCAR events for the coming year. The teams will also have the opportunity to receive valuable and extensive training in donated software and components from competition-level sponsors.
In addition to the technical training and sessions, communications managers and business managers will each have a dedicated track in which they will learn about the communications and business deliverables for the year. The communications managers will participate in media relations and video production training, while the business managers will focus on training involving project management and sponsor relations.
Teams will also have the opportunity to attend a Sponsor Social Networking and Recruiting event, a fun night at F1 Boston hosted by MathWorks, and a tour of Fenway Park and dinner in downtown Boston!
MathWorks would like to welcome everyone to Natick and hopes they enjoy their visit to the MathWorks headquarters!