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By: Prof. Francis Assadian and Dr Sajjad Fekriasl Automotive Mechatronics Centre, Cranfield University
During the last two decades, there have been substantial advances in the theory and application of robust multivariable feedback control system design. The reason for a need of such robust algorithms arises from several inherent uncertainty sources such as various operational conditions, process changes, sensor noises and unmeasured exogenous disturbances. While robust control systems have been successfully employed to tackle a wide range of engineering applications, including aerospace systems, automotive industry has not received satisfactory advantages of these modern control techniques. However, it is interesting to recall that, most of the control software designs and requirements capturing in the automotive engineering domain have been adopted from the aerospace industry. One of the main reasons in this course, perhaps, is the fact that the process of automotive systems, unlike the aerospace industry, is in the state of flux, being made not "standardised" as of yet. It is turned out that there has been a continuous increase in the gap between the control theory and the practical control strategies utilised in the existing production vehicles. This gap indeed results in significant missed opportunities in addressing several fundamental functionalities such as fuel economy, emissions, driveability, unification of control architecture and integration of the Automotive Mechatronics units on-board vehicle and most importantly control software calibrations. In this article, we shall briefly discuss how we have endeavoured to bridge this gap by employing robust feedback control systems design in the Automotive Mechatronics domain. Automotive Mechatronics in Research A wide range of modern automotive products are currently designed by the integration of mechanical components and electronic hardware into one packaging unit leading towards true mechatronic solutions, such as HEV energy management systems, active chassis systems, next-generation HEVs etc (Figure 1). On the other hand, there are various
practical challenging problems of automotive systems including calibration efforts, time and cost to production, reliability and diagnostics, control system robustness and performance issues and hardware constraints. Existing methodologies, however, are no longer liable to meet such requirements for increasingly complex new vehicle and therefore a variety of innovative mechatronics-based design methodologies are desperately required. Mechatronics applications are the best and ultimate solutions to the challenging automotive industries requirements as they offer versatile potentials with regards to functionality, cost, space requirements and quality. The key objective of the Automotive Mechatronics is thus to pursue, in both research and development, a harmonised approach to the design of mechatronic systems for the automotive systems.
Figure 1. Automotive Mechatronics Applications Automotive Mechatronics Centre at Cranfield 1 University , led by Prof. Francis Assadian, contributes to advance mechatronics applications with wide range of innovative and cost-effective research and development technologies. To this end, we aim to build strong links with industrial partners in our research collaborations. Examples which have been successfully investigated in our centre include complex automotive applications such as advanced control systems for torque management and driveability improvement of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) which is the main topic of this article. The Technology In our EPSRC funded research project on multivariable controls, the aim was to design
For more information on Automotive Mechatronics Centre at Cranﬁeld University, please see: http://www.cranﬁeld.ac.uk/soe/departments/automotive/automechatronics/index.jsp
Our project was aimed to deliver a setup with reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. whilst the low-frequency engine output torque responses are actually delivered by the engine itself but. more expertise in the mechatronics area particularly at the OEM side.and develop a pragmatic advanced modelbased (dynamical) controller to the torque management of HEV that is a challenging application due to complexity of the HEV dynamics. adaptive torque estimation algorithms (for both ICE and CIMG output torques). more efficient development processes. management of a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) (Figure 4). we intent to show only some typical results of the multivariable robust control design. use of advanced robust control techniques and more refined integration approaches are worth mentioning. Here. We have developed a Simulink package for the HEV energy management application (Figure 2). the HEV torque management application is a complex frequency-weighted problem which can be solved by the robust MIMO designs and. multivariable torque controller and their associated bumpless anti-windup controls that were designed and tested in HIL (Figure 3).cranﬁeld. referred to as ‘torque filling’. as a result. the controller has made the CIMG to help bring the total torque rapidly to the requested torque. model uncertainties are ignored and torque estimation errors in the feedback are not considered. please see: http://www. an electric Crankshaft Integrated Motor Controller (CIMG). applied successfully to the case study of torque Figure 4. The Structure of the HEV for the application of Torque Management.jsp . drastically reduce the need for manual drivability calibration efforts. Figure 3. In words. This includes an empirical diesel engine model. It also turns out that intensive calibration efforts are required. an ICE speed controller. using so-called mixed-mu synthesis. HIL architecture implemented based on the dSPACE platforms. Figure 2. together with saturated actuators and torque loss models (such as ICE ancillary. Robust multivariable torque control results designed and tested at Cranfield University. As illustrated.ac. the developed robust multivariable controller fully achieves our requirement from the HEV driveability viewpoint by delivering sufficiently fast total torque response. at highfrequencies modes (rapid torque requests). over specific drive cycles including NEDC. by meeting the increasingly stringent emissions standards and enhanced reliability and diagnostics. This was motivated due to the fact that existing hybrid powertrain control methods are based on off-line (sub-optimal) algorithms. a better definition of roles of suppliers and automotive OEMs. pumping and friction torques). sufficiently realistic clutch models. 1 For more information on Automotive Mechatronics Centre at Cranﬁeld University. electric motor effectively compensates the engine output torque lags. This complexity results in many challenges for both automotive OEMs and suppliers. This is indeed a challenging highly-coupled multivariable control problem that single PID loops cannot cope with. in which driveability is an afterthought.uk/soe/departments/automotive/automechatronics/index. Recall that due to different bandwidths at two ICE/CIMG control channels. Among these challenges.
Magenta: Estimated torque. vehicle Dynamics and integrated chassis Control. both academia and industry.cranﬁeld. our current research successes are in the design and development of robust controls for a challenging application of Hybrid Electric Vehicle torque management. Top: ICE torque. Orlando. The Automotive Mechatronics Centre. We also recently held a workshop entitled "Applied Robust Control: From Theory to Automotive Industrial Applications" at the 50th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and European Control Conference. 3) To address the knowledge gap in automotive mechatronics through short courses as well as establishment of an MSc program in Automotive Mechatronics in 2013. USA (December 2011) at the above field which has received very promising feedback and attention from wider researchers and engineers. we have co-authored a number of publications to overview some of the theoretical and practical aspects of the applied robust control. Florida. we are now in the process of testing these torque estimations and are planning to write an invention disclosure in due course. The Summary In collaboration with our industrial partners. our research activities are mainly focused on vehicle electrifications (novel electrical and control architectures).Yellow: Requested torque.ac. aimed at both transient and steadystate. Cranfield University. To present operational and practical issues of automotive mechatronics. Bottom: Total Torque).assadian@cranfield. designed for both speed-control and torque-control modes. advanced automotive control and energy management strategies. Besides. Cranfield University Tel: +44 (0) 1234 754657 Email: f. the results of our adaptive engine brake torque estimations. Contact: Prof. Figure 5. In order to disseminate our latest achievements. Cranfield Automotive Mechatronics Centre Cranfield University is one of the leading institutes of higher education in the UK in the fields of design and engineering of automotive technology. through governmental support and long term industrial projects. have been very satisfactory and promising. To meet increasingly new challenges in the pioneered automotive research. Francis Assadian Head of Department of Automotive Engineering & Director of Automotive Mechatronics Centre School of Engineering. our overarching goals of this centre are listed as follows: 1) To address the immediate needs and gap in the mechatronics and advanced control system design in a coordinated pragmatic approach through short term projects with industry.uk/soe/departments/automotive/automechatronics/index. The Automotive Mechatronics Centre at Cranfield University was established in 2009 to help address some of the applied advanced control issues discussed above. Middle: CIMG Torque. It is our hope that the results of this research work could motivate automotive industry to pay sufficient attention towards the advanced robust control designs and their potential capabilities in addressing a broad range of complex applications in the automotive control systems by improving vehicle performance and driveability while still continuing to reduce costs and meeting new emission standards. It has been our intention to highlight that the missed opportunities within the automotive applications could have been addressed by utilising advanced control techniques. 2) To carry out long term fundamental research in the automotive green technology area. Furthermore.uk 1 For more information on Automotive Mechatronics Centre at Cranﬁeld University. from process and methodology.jsp .ac. please see: http://www. to mechatronics modelling. design and development.
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