Sponsor Success Thursdays: OSU and dSPACE

The Ohio State University EcoCAR 2 team is collaborating with dSPACE, Inc. to help streamline the process for designing and integrating the control algorithms they are creating for their engine controller, transmission controller and vehicle supervisory controller in their vehicle. These team-programmed controllers will work together to allow the Ohio State Parallel-Series Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) to operate as efficiently as possible in charge depleting mode, charge sustaining series mode and charge sustaining parallel mode.

The Ohio State team uses dSPACE hardware and software to test each controller’s ability to communicate with the vehicle’s Controller Area Network (CAN), respond to different fault conditions and control its actuators. The team connects its team-programmed engine, transmission and vehicle supervisory controllers to the dSPACE Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) equipment. The HIL equipment contains a model of the team’s Parallel-Series PHEV that can be used to simulate the vehicle driving over a wide range of drive cycles.

Each of the controllers are connected to the HIL equipment through multiple CAN networks, which are similar to the CAN networks in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. Working with the HIL equipment and its CAN network connections in Year 1 of the competition will help the team streamline the process of integrating each of the team-programmed controllers into the Malibu’s CAN network during Year 2 of the competition.

Additionally, the HIL equipment is used by the team to simulate different powertrain fault conditions while the vehicle model is running a drive cycle. Inserting fault conditions into a drive cycle allows the team to test each controller’s response to a wide variety of fault conditions the vehicle could see in normal operation in a laboratory setting. This testing gives the team a chance to make sure each of the controllers can take the right actions to safely mitigate a wide range of faults before the team starts to do in-vehicle testing this year.

Finally, the team connects some of the actuators for the engine and transmission to the HIL equipment to test each controller’s ability to move its actuators correctly. The actuators connected to the HIL include the linear actuators used to shift gears in the transmission and the engine’s throttle, fuel injectors and spark coils. Connecting these actuators to the HIL equipment during Year One allowed the team to fine-tune the algorithms used to control each of the actuators, so that the actuators have more robust, reliable operation when they are integrated into the vehicle during Year Two.

The hardware and software donated to the team from dSPACE has allowed the team to develop and test complex control strategies for the engine, transmission and supervisory controllers that enable the vehicle to operate as efficiently as possible in its charge depleting, charge sustaining series and charge sustaining parallel modes.

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