OpenECU Enables Rapid Design and Control System Calibration for LIFECar

Dr. James Marco has kindly agreed to Pi Innovo reproducing his paper that describes aspects of the innovative fuel cell vehicle developments carried out in the LIFECar project. Dr. Marco highlights invaluable benefits of using OpenECU to implement energy management control requirements. An excerpt from the paper is provided below.  View the full paper here.

The complete Vehicle System Controller (VSC) system including all of the features contained in Table 1, were implemented using automatic code generation to the target hardware. The VSC control algorithms, both supervisory and feedback, were implemented within the MathWorks tool-set; MATLAB®, Simulink® and Stateflow®. The model therefore forms an executable specification for the control system.

OpenECU, in particular the G800 derivative, was employed as the basis for the design and hardware deployment of the VSC. The LIFECar control system made extensive use of the I/O blockset available within OpenECU, including the CAN communication blocks, and the high current PWM drives. The latter playing an integral role in controlling the hydraulic valves within the vehicle’s regenerative braking strategy. The ability to rapidly iterate the design and calibration of the control system, including the mapping of the I/O to prototype hardware, was invaluable. Within a few hours it was possible to move through the complete control life-cycle; from new idea, control implementation, deployment to the target and test on the vehicle. While it was never the intension of the project to design a production intent controller, the blocksets available within OpenECU facilitated a structured design to be implemented. As a result, the transition to production would be less arduous than with traditional vehicle prototyping programs.