Written by: Haleigh Fields, WVU Communications Manager
Because of the dedication and support of sponsors of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs), programs such as the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge have had the ability to expose students with industry-grade programs, products and trainings that further their understanding of the evolving automotive industry.
dSPACE, a leadership-level EcoCAR sponsor, provides teams with prototyping controllers, software tools, training courses and technical support. Last fall, dSPACE hosted propulsion, controls and modeling (PCM) team members from all 12 universities at their office in Wixom, Michigan for an in-depth workshop on Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulators and MicroAutoBox II (MABXII) controllers. All EcoCAR teams are using these hardware tools in their vehicle development process.
WVU EcoCAR PCM lead, Thomas Harris, has been working directly with dSPACE products daily. “We work with a dSPACE mid-size HIL Simulator. This is the simulator that we use to represent the physical components of the Blazer: motor, engine, transmission, driveline, etc. We also work with a MABXII, which we use to interface with the HIL and put our own team-developed control algorithms on. This helps us make sure all of the vehicle components are talking to each other as we intend,” said Harris.
In addition to supporting the team with their products and training, representatives at dSPACE assist students with technical issues that they encounter while working on the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge. Chris Manning, Senior HIL Applications Engineer at dSPACE has been one of WVU EcoCAR’s contacts throughout the competition.
Manning has been involved with the EcoCAR program since 2011, when he was a student at Virginia Tech competing in the EcoCAR 2 competition. His work with EcoCAR lead to his full-time job position at dSPACE that he started in 2014. “I enjoy getting to pass on my knowledge that I’ve gained working on the EcoCAR project myself and the experience I’ve gained working with other companies throughout the industry,” said Manning. “Following industry standards can really help teams to improve the car that they are developing for the competition.”
dSPACE’s contributions have had a direct impact on WVU’s progress. “Their sponsorship has saved the team time and manpower since we don’t have to worry about researching and sourcing controllers, and HIL simulators. dSPACE has also provided a lot of hand-on training pertaining to the specific products that they have provided us. This training has been invaluable,” Harris reflects on his experience working with dSPACE.
Devoting themselves as sponsor allows dSPACE to train the next generation of engineers in the automotive industry, get them familiar with the tools and practices before they start their careers, and recruit the best students for their teams.
Thank you for dSPACE for your dedication to EcoCAR Mobility Challenge!
Learn more about dSPACE by going to https://www.dspace.com/en/inc/home.cfm.