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With the first semester of the third and final year of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge under their belt, Mississippi State University’s EcoCAR controls team has been hard at work applying what they learned from the Winter Workshop at The Mathworks headquarters in Boston, MA, to their vehicle control systems.  Not only has the controls team updated their Hardware-in-the-Loop simulator to match their championship competition vehicle, but will soon begin the optimization process using super-computers.

Super-computing allows for iterative simulations to deterimine how systems and components will behave under varioius conditions (image from http://www.HPC.msstate.edu)

MSU is part of the High Performance Computing Collaboratory.  As such, the MSU EcoCAR team is excited to leverage these resources to produce a controller strategy that is optimized for energy management.  Thanks to the support of dSPACE and The Mathworks, the MSU controls team will be optimizing using the latest versions of MATLAB® & Simulink®, which will help keep MSU on top of the competition.

“We are very fortunate to have access to some incredible resources here at Mississippi State University, and as a competition team, we are very excited to use super-computing to push the boundaries of our control systems,” said team leader Matt Doude. “We like having a competitive edge, and we like that edge to be sharp.”

As the team moves forward in the competition, they will also be utilizing other cutting-edge technologies, including a four-wheel chassis dynamometer and 3D virtual environment simulations.

Vince Sabatini, the Embry-Riddle team leader, is taking his love for EcoCAR and the program’s sponsors to the next level – he got The MathWorks logo, which is also the symbol for The MathWorks MATLAB software, tattooed to his chest!

Vince explains why the tattoo is important to him:

“I have always been a fan of MATLAB, and I like the interesting design of the logo, the 3D Mesh, so I decided to get the logo on my chest, so MATLAB is always close to my heart.”

Very cool! Check out his new ink:

Vince Sabatini's MATLAB tattoo

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The Shiny New Snap-on Toolkit

The Shiny New Snap-on Toolkit

We’ve had a blast at this year’s kickoff event. The MathWorks and ANL have done a great job in getting all the teams together and pumped up for Year Two. Just when we were thinking things couldn’t get any better we got the news: our toolkit had arrived. Snap-on has generously sponsored the Embry-Riddle EcoEagles by providing a toolkit custom designed for the EcoCAR project. Complete with our team logo, the top-of-the-line kit will make working on the car that much easier. The nonconductive ratchet set in particular will be awesome when installing the batteries. While some of us weren’t there to see the kit when it came in, now that we’re back in Daytona Beach we plan to put it to good use.

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Nicole Hard at Work

Nicole Hard at Work

A look back on my first Fall Workshop as an organizer…

As a student in the EcoCAR competition, you never realize how much work goes into these workshops. All you really think about is when breakfast/lunch will be served, when the buses will come pick you up and what training course or session track to pick from.

After my first fall workshop as an organizer, I am awed by the amount of work it takes for these events to run smoothly. It really does take a village for these competition events to work effectively. Collaboration from so many sponsors like GM, DOE, the Government of Canada, A123Systems, The Math Works, dSPACE, NI, Woodward, EPA, Freescale and so many others make it possible for this program to become the success it always has been. It is really a great experience to be behind the scenes and help make the program a triumph.
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Virginia Tech Team In Front of Saturn VUE

Virginia Tech Team In Front of Saturn VUE

Virginia Tech kicked off year 2 of the three-year EcoCar: The NeXt Challenge competition with a first place win at Track One at F1 Racing Boston during the Fall Workshop in Boston, Mass.

Patrick Walsh, Virginia Tech’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team’s co-leader, who was the driver of the car was asked about his team’s victory.

“It’s a great way to start off this year’s competition. Go Hokies!,” said Patrick.

In addition to the F1 race, Virginia Tech team participated in technical and outreach training throughout the five day event provided by The MathWorks, one of the key sponsors of the competition in addition to Department of Energy and GM.

“The classroom sessions were productive and will prove to be very valuable as we work to integrate our designs in the GM vehicle this year,” said Lynn Gantt, co-leader of the HEVT team.

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The WVU EcoCAR Team at F1 Boston

The WVU EcoCAR Team at F1 Boston

F1 Champ Andrew Wiedrich

F1 Champ Andrew Wiedrich

The West Virginia University EcoCAR Team kicked off the Year 2 Competition by chalking up their first victory as the F1 Race Champs! Andrew Wiedrich led his team to victory by placing first out of nine schools in the Track Two Challenge at the Formula One in Boston.

“I was extremely excited that I won. Starting in eighth place out of nine schools I had my work cut out for me, but somehow I was able to sneak through to the front of the race,” said Wiedrich.

He added, “After the race I was so pumped up on adrenaline that I was shaking!”
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This morning, at the Museum of Science in Boston, representative from The General Motors Company, Department of Energy, The MathWorks and A123Systems addressed a crowd of students and journalists, officially kicking off year two of the EcoCAR competition.

Today’s presenters included Connie Bezanson from DOE, Paul Smith from The MathWorks, Rob Mosher from A123Systems and Kent Helfrich from General Motors.

Here are some photos from the event:

The Teams Gather After Press Conference

The Teams Gather After Press Conference


Kent Helfrich from General Motors

Kent Helfrich from General Motors

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080814_3RF1440-568pxAs Year 2 of EcoCAR heats up and teams turn their focus from virtual design to physical integration, teams will undoubtedly look toward software tools provided by The MathWorks as a Platinum sponsor.

The MathWorks will host 2 days of hands-on training at our Natick, MA campus during the upcoming EcoCAR Fall Workshop. EcoCAR teams can tailor their instruction to best suit their designs’ needs by selecting from 3 tracks of courses offered during the workshop.

So whether a novice or power user, teams will leave the workshop solidly grounded in MathWorks software tools, such as MATLAB, Simulink and a range of other tools for Model-Based Design and control strategy development that will be central to the team’s activities in the year ahead.
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The EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals continue from Toronto, Canada. 17 teams are locked in heated competition, but you’ll see in this video that there’s also a fun side to aspiring engineers. Keep your eyes open for excessive energy drink consumption, team members hearing voices and pugilistic engineers. Also note the awards given out to The Ohio State and Embry-Riddle.

Welcome behind the scenes of the EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals. Enjoy the sites and sounds from DAY THREE.

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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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