By Ohio State’s Amanda Hyde
Safety is very important in hybrid vehicles today. The complexity of OSU’s EcoCAR 2 design with both an E85 engine and two electric motors makes safety one of the team’s highest priorities, especially during the design stages. This is precisely what I worked on this year. I am the leader of the fault diagnosis team which means that I get to work with members of the design team for each subsystem on the car, such as the engine, front and rear powertrain, batteries and controls, to identify potential hazards in the vehicle. Together the fault diagnosis team finds effective preventative measures to prevent safety hazards before they happen as well as preparing the car to react safely and protect passengers from harm in the event that a component does become damaged or faulty while driving.
Organizing and analyzing safety diagnostic information from the entire vehicle is an enormous task, but it is made possible with the use of professional fault diagnosis software from Byteworx and Isograph. These purpose-built programs help me to organize and view information from all of the various subsystems separately or at once, allow me to see how they interact and also help me determine the likelihood of potential problems and dangers that they would pose. This allows me to take a comprehensive look at the needed safety features and to choose the best possible measures to prevent and mitigate problems.
These safety measures were tested on the team’s Hardware-in-the-Loop simulator using dSPACE AutomationDesk software. AutomationDesk allows the team to run automated tests of the safety features to ensure that they are all functional and effective. Automated testing means that we can run a comprehensive safety test of a subsystem or of the entire vehicle in only a fraction of the time it would take to do by hand!