The automotive area is a vital industry sector with an important economic contribution in Europe. Automotive Control and Mechatronics is becoming essential in today's and tomorrow's road vehicles for improved road transport safety, reduced pollutant emission levels and fuel economy. Road vehicles are, therefore, becoming truly mechatronic devices loaded with sensors and actuators and control code in a large number of electronic control units, connected over a data bus.
There is also a trend towards inter-vehicle and vehicle-infrastructure communication for improved safety and comfort. Consequently, Europe's current leading position in the automotive sector relies heavily on its taking part in and leading the anticipated developments in the Automotive Control and Mechatronics area.
The Automotive Controls and Mechatronics Research Centre (Acronym: AUTOCOM) of Istanbul Technical University was established with a three year EU FP6 SSA project (INCO project no. 16426) as a Centre of Excellence on May 1, 2005. The AUTOCOM project is contributing to European Research and Technology Development in the Automotive Control and Mechatronics area in order to help achieve safer, cleaner and fuel efficient road vehicles inEurope. The aim of the AUTOCOM project was to make the Automotive Controls Research Group (ACRG) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Istanbul Technical University an excellent Automotive Controls and Mechatronics (Acronym: AUTOCOM) Centre for Actively Safe, Clean and Efficient Road Vehicles with an increased research and technological development (RTD) capacity and a higher level of participation in EU funded research activities.
For this purpose, three thrust areas of research capacity reinforcement were identified as:
- preventive and active safety control systems;
- powertrain modelling, control and hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) testing; and
- hybrid electric vehicle modelling and control.
The project addresses 'integrating' and 'strengthening' the ERA in the eSafety subpriority of the IST thematic priority area and the Transport and Integrated Safety subpriorities of the SustDev thematic priority area of Framework Programme 6.
The main objective of the project coud be summarised as making the Automotive Controls Research Group (ACRG) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Istanbul Technical University (ITÜ) an excellent Automotive Controls and Mechatronics (Acronym: AUTOCOM) Centre for Actively Safe, Clean and Efficient Road Vehicles with an increased research and technological development (RTD) capacity and a higher level of participation in EU funded research activities. This main objective was achieved through several sub-objectives.
These sub-objectives and their measurable outcomes were:
- achieve a higher level of contribution to RTD capacity inTurkeyand in the EU;
- to improve networking with other research centres inEurope– In this context, we cooperated with several European universities and research centres on diesel engine modelling and control, on engine modelling for control applications, on modelling and control of hybrid vehicles, on preventive/active safety systems and intelligent transportation systems and on driveline modelling;
- to send Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers to other centres for training and experiments;
- to organise three workshops on:
- preventive and Active Safety Systems for Road Vehicles;
- powertrain Modelling, Control and HiL Testing;
- hybrid Electric Vehicle Modelling and Control. These workshops were held inTurkey and will all involved either a visit to the centre or a presentation on the centre and a separate session devoted to exploring future research and development cooperation possibilities. EU officials in the relevant program were invited to the latter session.
- to visit other centres for cooperative activities and joint RTD proposal preparation – Selected researchers in the centre visited selected European universities and research centres.
- to hire two young researchers at the post-doctoral level and three young researchers at the doctoral student or engineer level;
- to renew selected S&T equipment in ACRG-ITÜ.
The project was split into several tasks as follows:
- preventive and active safety;
- hybrid electric vehicle modelling and control;
- powertrain modelling, control and hardware in the loop simulation.
The RTD capacity improvement efforts in the three thrust areas have placed us far beyond the current state of the art in the first thrust area of preventive and active safety control systems, past beyond the current state of the art in hybrid electric vehicle modelling and control and at the current state of the art in powertrain modelling, control and HiL testing. The project team was already very good in the preventive and active safety control systems area. In this area, research work concentrated on ESP, rollover warning and avoidance, adaptive cruise control, stop and go systems, collision warning and avoidance, steering control and semi active suspensions, ITS and intelligent vehicle technologies and active safety using inter-vehicle communication. They are a leading research team which can easily work in European level research projects in our first thrust area of preventive and active safety. They are the best research team in Turkey in this area.
At the end of the third and final year of the project, they are beyond the state of the art in hybrid electric vehicle modelling and control. They have successfully finished the modelling, controller design and controller testing of three hybrid electric vehicle prototypes and two major projects whose results were highly publicised in Turkey (FOHEV-I and FOHEV-II). These prototypes are at the state of the art in the hybrid electric vehicle area and have been found to be very successful. Autocom centre personnel in this thrust area are working on optimisation based strategies and local optimisation based controllers. The second thrust area of powertrain modelling, control and HiL testing is where we have reached the current state of the art.
They have a home developed real time capable crank angle based diesel engine model and a home built HiL testing system for engine ECUs with a home developed faulty signal generation program along with two commercial real time capable diesel engine models. They are working on advanced, model based and calibratable controls for diesel engines.
The project has increased the RTD capacity of the centre in the automotive control and mechatronics area. They already had very close ties with the Turkish automotive industry before the project. The abovementioned RTD capacity improvement made it easier for the centre to conduct research projects for the automotive industry. There are 19 automotive OEMs in Turkey. Turkey is the number 1 bus manufacturer in Europe and one of the largest commercial vehic