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Connected and Shared X-in-the-loop Environment for Electric Vehicles Development

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - XILforEV (Connected and Shared X-in-the-loop Environment for Electric Vehicles Development)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30

The vehicle electrification is a key factor for reducing transportation greenhouse gas emissions as well critical for European automotive industry survivability in the coming decades. Even if strategic consideration and improving driving experience at lower operational costs make the electric vehicle (EV) segment attractive for OEMs, the European automotive industry faces new challenges as adaptation to fast-moving technologies and newborn rivals as well as overcome of low profitability. The industry must adapt this new context, and recent observations show that sustainable EV production (environmentally and economically), independently from the model of manufacturing, requires new designing procedures.

Overall development process of electric vehicles consists of many stages, elements and components, which are also being characterized nowadays by unequal levels of technological maturity. In this regard, the XILforEV consortium has identified the following specific question, which is insufficiently addressed neither at industrial level nor in research: how to efficiently realize integrated development and testing of EV systems from different domains?
To address this scope of problems, the project proposes a new approach aimed at developing a connected and shared X-in-the-loop (XIL) experimental environment uniting test platforms and setups from different physical domains and situated in different locations.

The XILforEV project brings together several complementary participants from industry and academia, to address the new design and testing tool for electric vehicles and their systems, based on a sound and objective analysis of the distributed XIL technologies, at a level of depth never attempted by any previous research on the subject. To this purpose the XILforEV activity includes novel techniques for connecting experimental labs and dedicated case studies for designing motion control systems and fail-safe operation of electric vehicles. In addition, considering the importance of virtual models in XIL procedures and the availability of different test benches interconnected, the proposal also addresses the development of high-confidence, real-time capable models with automatic validation using experimental data.
For the reporting period, the performed works and achieved project results are as follows.

1) The consortium elaborated detailed architecture of experimental and testing systems to be included into the connected XIL environments. This architecture consists of several layers ensuring communication between different test facilities and global real-time co-simulation shell. The architecture has been mapped to four Use Cases, where the XIL-based procedures are being implemented for designing (i) brake blending, (ii) ride blending, (iii) integrated chassis control, and (iv) fail-safe control.

2) The specific communication layer has been introduced, which will enable connectivity between testing platforms situated by the project partners in different countries. The layer is using UDP protocol and addressing necessary requirements to real-time operation of XIL environment, also by the test rig connection through Internet.

3) To harmonize co-simulation tasks, which are inherent for XIL-based experiments, the corresponding real-time simulation interface is proposed. This interface allows easy integration of models of the electric vehicle and its systems / controllers developed in different software applications.

4) An innovative methodology has been developed for design, validation, verification and certification of safety-critical electric vehicle systems towards shorter development and testing time. The main elements of this methodology are (i) workflow and orchestration between the different stakeholders of the XIL process, (ii) continuous integration for heterogeneous XIL environments, (iii) bidirectional traceability and consistency of testing procedures.

5) A distributed XIL testing strategy has been advanced with the solutions based on Dynamic Data Driven Applications Systems paradigm and Reduced Order Models to essentially increase multi-fidelity of the subsystem models required for the Use Cases.

6) Finally, a set of real-time models and controllers to be implemented into the XIL environment on later project stages has been elaborated. This includes (i) the models and low-level controllers of in-wheel motors, active suspension, brake-by-wire systems; (ii) the global car model required for the connection with test platforms; (iii) brake blending and ride blending controllers; (iv) fail-safe controller for electric motor operation and control strategies for safe chassis control functions.
The project proposed the first-of-its-kind validation and testing environments for EV system design, which are characterised by the possibility of remote, distributed and shared experiments with the inclusion of various intersectoral participants of the development process. This approach is an important step forward as compared to current traditional iterative design processes. The effectiveness and usability of the XILforEV validation and testing environments will be demonstrated through design of novel EV systems as (i) brake bending with real-time consideration of tribological and thermal processes in actuators; (ii) ride blending allowing the use of in-wheel motors for the vertical vehicle dynamics control; (iii) integrated chassis control designed through extended driver simulator studies.

The project will demonstrate several impacts as (i) reduction in the time to market of new EV models and platforms; (ii) improved quality through more robust verification, validation and certification of safety-critical EV components and EV systems; (iii) substantial accelerating of the development and testing ahead of the EV systems integration and faster modularity assessment; (iv) enhancing EU competence in EVs against strong international competitors such as those in USA, Japan or China countries; (v) better readiness of the EU car sector to existing and future environmental regulations around the world; (vi) a closer cooperation and establishment of new industry-SME business contacts at the European level in the field of automotive product development.

The XILforEV results should open new marker and business cases, not only in automotive but also in other transportation domains. This concerns in particular shared experimental environments and real-time simulation cloud with open plug-in interface for connected hardware setups.

Social benefits from the projects are emerging from (i) development of reliable and safe automotive technologies with increased positive environmental effect; (ii) improvement of social acceptance for new technologies; (iii) better work conditions and quality of life for engineers and developers due to reduction of the travelling efforts and offering of more creative flexibility during the design process.

The XILforEV project has a strong impact on Open Research and Open Science. It demonstrates in a global scale how the plug-in concept of including various test platforms/devices and easy on-demand access to the test programmes for researchers can bring a vast impact to the scientific community through connecting experimental environments around the world.
XILforEV Architecture