Posts Tagged ‘The MathWorks’

6 June, 2014

The 51st DAC (Design Automation Conference) ended this week and it was excellent, in my opinion, partly due to a strong automotive track and what I believe to have been a first-ever Automotive Village.

I suspect that those who visited the Village will be able to look back in years to come, when the Village is much larger, and “remember when.” Thanks to Mentor Graphics, Synopsys, Dassault, Wrightspeed, and the other pioneers.

DAC is fundamentally an EDA (electronic design automation) conference and the inaugural automotive track – numerous in-depth technical presentations, panel sessions and “Sky Talks” as well as the Village on the exhibit floor – recognized the importance of electronics to automotive application/system development.

Among the highlights of the conference for me were the Tuesday morning keynote that featured Ford’s Jim Buczkowski (a Henry Ford Technical Fellow and Director of Electrical and Electronics Systems Research and Advanced Engineering) and The MathWorks’ Jim Tung (a MathWorks Fellow). They said a lot and were very articulate and I came away with a deeper sense of the importance of Safety and Security to automotive electronics systems development.

I was also impressed with David Kleidermacher’s Sky Talk on Security. David is the chief technology officer at Green Hills Software, and his description of the Target security problem and how it could have been avoided was a bit chilling, as well as thought-provoking.

And I have so say a word or two about the panel session on “EV E/E Architectures – Evolutionary or Revolutionary” since I was part of it. Panel members took sides, and the final score was 3-2. Which side do you think won?

Big ideas, Safety and Security. I’ll tend from here on to look at product and corporate announcements in terms of the Big Ideas they incorporate or reflect: Does “whatever” make cars safer or more secure? Obviously not every product or collaboration will, so what else is important? Performance, for lack of a better word, is one. New products may help improve fuel economy and/or reduce emissions. And Connectivity, which ought to be more than just a buzzword. And Usability, which also relates to safety.

What am I overlooking? I’m sure there’s something, but my point is that there are a relatively small number of overarching themes or goals or categories to which all automotive electronics products and technologies should relate. Share your list, if you have one.

And if you attended the 51st DAC, what impressed you most?

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21 December, 2010

Robyn Jackey is the go-to guy for automotive battery modeling at The MathWorks, and with electrical loads increasing in vehicles, customers are keeping him busy. More of his time than I would have expected is spent modeling conventional lead acid batteries than those with exotic chemistries, but The MathWorks makes provision for both.

“Automakers want the optimum-size battery and alternator, so as not to add cost or increase fuel consumption unnecessarily,” Jackey says. “The alternator has to be big enough to keep the battery charged and the battery big enough to handle the idle times when the alternator can’t provide enough current.”

Jackey’s primary battery right-sizing tool is an equivalent circuit model fed with customers’ constant current and voltage data at a variety of temperatures. That data is used with optimization routines to parameterize the battery model, which control engineers can then put into their system level model. Jackey says the equivalent circuit model approximates lead acid battery performance pretty closely and has also been used to simulate a lithium polymer battery.

“To develop and verify control algorithms, engineers need a battery model that can run fast, be accurate, and be developed quickly, based on a defined process,” Jackey says. Engineers who design battery packs for hybrid and electric vehicles, on the other hand, want the ability to model chemical reactions and do in-depth analysis.

Those kinds of detailed models are slow to run, and thus are not appropriate for control applications, but Jackey says that engineers who need them and also want the benefits of model-based design can use co-simulation tools to link custom-developed or third-party battery models with control models in the MATLAB/Simulink environment.

“Battery technology is ever changing. Model-based design eliminates repetitive cycles, and if you have an accurate simulation before building a test vehicle, you can reduce development time and cost.” A technical paper is available for those who want more detail on the battery simulation model.

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