EcoCAR 2 at the Forefront of Electrical and Computer Engineering Innovation

By Brian Benoy, AVTC Modeling & Simulation Engineer, Argonne National Laboratory and former MSU Controls Sub Team Leader in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge

When I was an electrical engineering graduate student in EcoCAR, I often found myself wondering why it was so difficult to recruit electrical engineering undergraduates to be a part of the team.  After all, we are building a hybrid electric vehicle, right?  Somehow, a significant gap has developed between the role that electrical and computer engineering has in the automotive industry and the number of these students that even know there is work for them out in the field.

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) topics can be used everywhere from embedded component control systems to high power electrical system design in the automotive industry.  In EcoCAR 2, students have the unique opportunity to work on almost every aspect of the vehicle.  Here’s a summary of the experience a typical ECE student would get from participating on an EcoCAR 2 team:

  • High power circuit design and integration
  • Industry standard design and safety practices
  • Power electronics switching modeling and analysis
  • Advance circuit analysis (including Electro-magnetic Interference (EMI) and circuit stability)
  • Wire harness design
  • Wire termination, routing, protection, and mounting (low voltage and high voltage)
  • Model-based design tools
  • Embedded control system development
  • System level integration and analysis
  • Human Machine Interface (HMI) development
  • Advanced control algorithm development (fuzzy logic, neural networks)
  • Cross-disciplinary communication in a team environment

There are more electrical components being integrated into today’s vehicles than ever before.  The personal vehicle is becoming a centerpiece for innovation and creativity as we make the world more efficient and connected, and EcoCAR 2 is unquestionably the best launching platform for those ideas.  I know it is exactly where I want to be.  What about you?

Check out this video to learn more about what EcoCAR 2 teams are doing with electrical and computer engineering. Teams, we hope this video will help you recruit ECE students and faculty to join your program!