MathWorks: Providing Valuable Software and Training to the CSU Team

MathWorks has provided Colorado State University students with unparalleled software tools that will both expand their education and prepare them for their futures as engineers. MathWorks contributed to the CSU Vehicle Innovation Team (CSU VIT) by providing Matlab, the company’s prime computing software, for team members’ use from the initial stage of the design process all the way to implementation of the controls on the vehicle.

EcoCAR 2 students are fortunate to have the opportunity to gain experience using MathWorks software directly from team mentors. MathWorks Applications Engineer Wit Nursilo has been a technical mentor for the CSU EcoCAR 2 team for the past two years. He has visited the team on multiple occasions at the CSU Motorsports Engineering Research Center (MERC) and conducted several educational sessions with students. Initially, the team struggled with learning how to create and validate controllers virtually. During his visit to the MERC, Nursilo worked with the team to guide them through this process.

CSU EcoCAR 2 team members used MathWorks software in the early stages of the design process to determine the optimal size of the electric motor, battery pack, and fuel cells necessary to meet competition requirements. Matlab was also used to verify the fuel economy, power and battery driving range that could be expected during normal vehicle operation.

Learning to use MathWorks software such as Matlab and Simulink not only benefits students in the competition but also gives them a leg up as they pursue work within real world automotive engineering fields.

According to Peter Riedo, a controls team member, “[MathWorks is] an industry standard software and it’s really powerful. You can pretty much do anything with it.” Riedo, who attended the EcoCAR 2 Fall 2012 Workshop in Boston, explained that he was offered a position as a testing and calibration engineer with General Motors in part because of his ability to use MathWorks software.

To see the effects that the sponsorship has made, you only have to observe the quality of the students and careers that will undoubtedly result. The majority of positions EcoCAR 2 graduates will seek in the professional world involve the use of MathWorks software. Jake Bucher, graduate team leader, says he will be able to utilize MathWorks software from his graduate research all the way up to his research for industry. Undergraduate Controls team member Benjamin Johnke agrees—he can “hit the ground running” when he enters the professional world because he will already know how to use MathWorks software.

The CSU VIT is grateful for MathWorks sponsorship to the EcoCAR 2 competition. Check out the video below to learn more!