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The Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech (HEVT) received a huge honor from EcoCAR sponsor, National Instruments (NI), this summer.  Team members, Lynn Gantt and Michael Kearney, were invited to give part of the Academic Keynote For NIWeek 2010 in Austin and presented to more than 4,000 people from the industry, academic, and the technical community. This invitation was a result of Virginia Tech’s success in Year Two of the competition through the use of several National Instruments products, including LabVIEW, Veristand, and StateChart software and CompactRIO and PXI hardware.  Winning the Best Use of Graphical System Design award from National Instruments also helped the team secure the role at the conference. 

The team’s presentation covered the goals of EcoCAR, the vehicle architecture, control strategy, Hardware-In-the-Loop testing, and a hardware demo showing off the driver display created by the team and HIL testing – a lot  to squeeze into a seven minute presentation! The hard work paid off and the presentation received strong applause from industry and academic professionals, and event organizers.

HEVT was joined on stage by Racing Green Endurance from Imperial College in London, England.  Soon, they will be taking their student-built electric race car 26,000 km down the Pan-American highway from Alaska to the tip of South America.  Another group from Virginia Tech, the Blind Driver Challenge Team out of the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) also presented at the conference.  This group of senior design students is working with NI and the National Federation for the Blind to develop a car that one day can be driven by the blind. 

Check out the cool videos below from the NI Keynote address:

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At the EcoCAR Year Two awards ceremony in San Diego, three teams were presented with the dSPACE Embedded Success Award for demonstrating the most effective use of dSPACE HIL equipment. The first-place winner of the dSPACE Embedded Success Award was The Ohio State University. 
 
“The Ohio State team exemplified the best attributes sought in how to use HIL simulation effectively, from clear specification-based test development to highly mature and in-depth plant modeling,” said Santhosh Jogi, dSPACE Inc. Engineering Director. 
 
OSU had to create their own engine controls for their chosen vehicle architecture.  This required the use of accurate plant models for the internal combustion engine and the integration of the engine controller and the primary supervisory controller with the HIL system. 
 
“Not only did they accomplish these tasks, but also conducted a thorough analysis of fidelity versus efficiency in determining their modeling approach,” Jogi added.  “For test development, they followed a methodical approach to define, create and automate testing, and in doing so, developed the ability to regression-test new versions of control strategies effectively and quickly.”

EcoCAR students receiving the dSPACE award

Second and third place honors were presented to Mississippi State University and the University of Victoria.
 
“Mississippi State had a thorough approach to HIL-based development and testing, one that mimics what is seen in the industry today,” said Jogi.  “They successfully used HIL technology to simulate their system, test major control strategies, failure conditions, and even debug and solve issues in the vehicle.”
 
Jogi said the University of Victoria demonstrated a clear and impressive strategy in using HIL simulation to develop their control systems and test their planned vehicle features and architecture. 
 
“Their plant modeling, test development, and validation of control system function, diagnostics, and integration in Year Two, along with their plans for further simulation fidelity in Year Three, are strong indicators of the forward-looking attitude of this team, which exemplifies the spirit of EcoCAR,” Jogi said.
 
The winning teams received cash prizes and Floating Network License packs of dSPACE’s ASM Engine, Vehicle Dynamics, Traffic, and Electric Component simulation models.
 
“The software packages are designed to allow schools to create automotive technology curriculum in the areas of advanced powertrain, chassis and driver assistance using the same tools that OEMs and Tier1s around the world use for developing new products,” said Vivek Moudgal, dSPACE Inc, Sales Director. 
 
Using tools that are preferred by OEMs will help the universities produce engineers ready to work in the automotive industry.
 
We look forward to seeing what the teams have in store for Year Three!

This week, we are featuring a mentor from National Instruments (NI), another EcoCAR platinum sponsor! National Instruments is providing Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) support to 9 of the 17 EcoCAR teams. Two of the teams, Embry-Riddle and Virginia Tech, are also are using National Instruments’ Software-in-the-Loop (SIL) solution for their projects.

Stephen Barrett is a systems engineer at National Instruments where he provides engineering support services that include: pre-sales concept development, benchmarking, on-site training and consulting, and creating software add-on components for NI’s real-time testing platform. Stephen is a former member of the Texas Tech University Challenge X team and has been assisting the EcoCAR teams since the competition kick-off in 2008.

“I really enjoy participating in the EcoCAR program as a mentor. I’ve been able to leverage my successes and failures as a student and my real-world experiences to better advise the teams. The applications the teams are using are quite challenging and it’s been rewarding to see how quickly they apply the right tools and technologies to solve problems.”

Stephen Barrett as a student on the Texas Tech Challenge X team in 2008

You’re going to have to wait one more week to find out!  We will be announcing the first, second and third place Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) and Web site winners on February 3rd. HIL is a rapid control system testing technology that will help bring the students’ vehicle designs from concept to the road. Check in at noon ET to see which teams took the top spots at the Winter Workshop.  

Mark your calendars!

The EcoCAR Winter Workshop is in full swing in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida. The first two days were consumed with the teams’ Hardware-In-The-Loop (HIL) and Outreach presentations at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and demos at Daytona International Speedway.

Teams brought their HIL’s to the workshop to show how they’ve improved since we last saw them at Year One finals, and how they plan to continue fault testing their vehicles in Year Two. The level of the students’ controls knowledge impressed top industry experts and judges from dSPACE, National Instruments, General Motors, and Argonne National Lab. Mississippi State’s Tommy Frazier said, “We gained valuable experience presenting our HIL to top industry experts. Their feedback will allow us to create a great running vehicle for finals in May.”

While the HIL presentations were going on, the teams’ outreach coordinators presented what they’ve been up to the past few months. They’ve been busy! “We were excited to share the things we’ve been working on over the past few months and through the end of the year,” said Matt Johnson, ERAU Outreach Coordinator. Teams presented on their new Web sites, social media networking, and Year Two outreach activities. The judges were very impressed with the coordinators, and can’t wait to see what they do to close out the year.

The ERAU team posing in front of the Daytona International Speedway

Make sure to check out all the teams’ Facebook and Twitter pages to see how they’re gearing up for the competition finals in May!

The Winning OSU Team

The Winning OSU Team

We are excited to be writing a blog as the EcoCAR Year 1 Champs! Here is a little information about our team and a reflection of what has contributed to our success this year.

How did OSU get involved in EcoCAR?

OSU has been a participant in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) competitions such as FutureCAR, FutureTruck and ChallengeX since 1992. Most recently, our biodiesel, parallel-through-the-road hybrid electric vehicle placed 3rd in the final year of Challenge X, along with multiple awards including the MathWorks: Crossover to Model-Based Design Award. In addition, the OSU team placed a significant emphasis on marketing and outreach efforts in Challenge X, paving the way for further sophistication of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions through the increased Business and Outreach focuses in the EcoCAR Challenge Competition.
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EmbryRiddleLogoThe EcoEagles team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida is very excited to finally make it to their first ever EcoCAR competition, being held in Toronto, Canada the week of June 7-12. After an early arrival on Saturday, June 6, the team finalized their presentations, steeled their nerves and settled in for a week of competition, and camaraderie, with the other sixteen colleges and universities from North America participating in EcoCAR: The Next Challenge.
For this competition, these undergraduate and graduate students designed the HyRev, a power split extended range electric vehicle (eREV) with an all-electric range of 20 miles. Competition events already completed include the trade show event, in which three students presented the team’s complete tradeshow booth to a group of four judges, and the hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) presentation, in which two students gave an overview of the HIL development, including the planning, design and testing, and demonstrated the fully-functional HIL system. Team spirits are high, and everybody feels they have done well at all these events.
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In this installment of the Green Garage blog, we speak with Paul Mandeltort from National Instruments. As a former competition student, Paul provides unique insight to the core problems that EcoCAR teams are working to solve. Today’s teams are challenged with bringing incredibly advanced designs to competition in record time. Paul discusses how students are meeting the challenge by using NI tools to build “virtual cars” using an advanced industry technique known as hardware-in-the-loop simulation.

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EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge today announced that three of the competition’s Platinum Sponsors, dSPACE, National Instruments and The MathWorks, are providing more than $2,300,000 of cutting edge hardware and software tools to help student teams design the green cars of the future. EcoCAR teams learn real-world automotive engineering practices through the use of Model-Based Design and graphical system design technologies that include hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and software-in-the-loop (SIL), which help to bring the students’ vehicle visions from concept to the road. Students will unveil their final designs at the competition finals in Toronto on Friday, June 12, 2009.

Read the full social media release here.

Watch Related Videos About HIL Below


 

 

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From time to time, Inside the Green Garage blog will spotlight EcoCAR sponsors with “video blogs” that provide more personal looks at the people and companies behind EcoCAR and the Green Garage. Hopefully these videos blogs will spark more discussion about the technologies in use throughout the competition and lead to more questions about the team designs.

For our first few video blogs, we arranged to speak with sponsors attending SAE Congress 2009 in Detroit. Our first conversation is with Paul Smith and Shaun Kalinowski of The Mathworks. They shed light on the importance of “model-based design” and explain the concepts of hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and software-in-the-loop (SIL). Pay particular attention to the Paul’s answer about “making math cool again.”

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