Last week, EcoCAR 2 students who attended the Fall Workshop were able to get hands-on training from competition-level sponsors MathWorks, dSPACE, and Freescale.
While the training sessions allowed teams to interact with the sponsors, they were also able to learn about the donated hardware and software. Mathworks hosted three days of MATLAB and Simulink training, which educated teams on how to develop control simulations for their plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
In addition, dSPACE provided training on their MicroAutoBox, which allows better controller functionality and testing data for teams, and Freescale provided training on their donated touch screens and software for teams who are designing personalized center stacks.
Learn more about how MathWorks, dSPACE, and Freescale software and hardware are helping EcoCAR 2 students become the future of the automobile industry:
A University of Waterloo connects with Siemens at the Fall Workshop
Faculty Advisor David Blekham (left) talks with Bosch at the Sponsor Social
The final Fall Workshop of the EcoCAR 2 series is officially underway at MathWorks’ headquarters in Natick, MA!
The workshop, which began Wednesday evening with student registration, features a variety of training sessions for EcoCAR 2 teams. These training sessions will help prepare teams for the Year Three deliverables and will provide teams the understanding and knowledge to refine their plug-in hybrid electric vehicles throughout Year Three.
Designing and building an advanced hybrid vehicle is no easy task; it takes multiple years and many skilled engineers to produce a consumer vehicle. The EcoCAR 2 team at Ohio State faces these challenges daily.
The team decided to use a 1.8L 4-cylinder high compression ratio engine that has been calibrated for E85 fuel. This specific type of fuel was chosen for its high octane rating, which can produce higher efficiencies leading to better overall fuel economy. Calibrating the engine to run on E85 fuel was a difficult task because it required the team to program a complete engine control algorithm from the ground up. But, with the work of many Ohio State students, including engine control systems lead Andy Garcia, the code was completed using Simulink from Mathworks. As a result of these ambitious efforts, the engine can achieve best-in-class efficiency for a spark ignition engine at 40 percent brake thermal efficiency.
In Year Three, Ohio State will try to improve on this already highly efficient engine. Some of the improvements include heated fuel injectors and active knock control. The heated fuel injectors will help improve the start-up of the vehicle in colder conditions by heating the fuel before reaching the combustion chamber. Also, the heated fuel injectors will assist in reducing tailpipe emissions. The active knock control will allow the engine to push the limits of spark advance, creating higher efficiencies.
There is a lot of work ahead to be completed, but the team is excited and ready for the challenge!
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.