Data Acquisition: One of the Indispensable Tools of the Engineer

With Wayne State’s EcoCAR 2 Team being a new AVTC startup student team, the Vector CANtech-donated CAN loggers and CANoe software are the only CAN instrumentation the team has so far.  The CAN instrumentation has allowed the team to gain understanding of the different vehicle states and vehicle performance both in real time signal viewing and post drive analysis.

One problem was trying to determine if the team’s heavier plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) design would still meet the 60 mph to zero braking distance requirement.  The team’s use of the Vector donated CAN instrumentation has allowed the team to acquire braking distance data of both the stock vehicle (baseline) and also the simulated heavier vehicle design (by adding more than 350 kg / 750 lbs of cast iron weights in the trunk – to represent the additions of a battery pack, electric motor and controller, associated cooling systems, an on-board charger, and a rear differential with axle half-shafts).

With the successful CAN data capture and analysis for vehicle distance traveled and vehicle speed during several braking tests, the team determined that the heavier PHEV vehicle would be borderline for meeting the VTS braking distance requirement and that some level of mechanical brake system performance improvement would be needed in order to make sure the team is confidently under the VTS braking distance limit.

The Vector CAN instrumentation donation continues to be an indispensable tool used the team for ongoing analysis of all the component and subsystem behavior of the GM donated 2013 Chevrolet Malibu base vehicle for determining how to integrate and coordinate control of the new electric powertrain with the conventional gas engine powertrain.