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

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - XILforEV (Connected and Shared X-in-the-loop Environment for Electric Vehicles Development)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

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.
For the whole project duration, the performed works and achieved results are as follows.

1) The first reporting period has covered:
- Elaboration of detailed architecture of experimental and testing systems to be included into the connected XIL environments. The architecture has been mapped to four Use Cases for designing (i) brake blending, (ii) ride blending, (iii) integrated chassis control, and (iv) fail-safe control.
- Introduction of the specific communication layer enabling connectivity between testing platforms situated by the project partners in different countries.
- Methodology of design, validation, verification and certification of safety-critical electric vehicle systems
- A set of real-time models and controllers for the Use Cases.

2) The second reporting period has covered:
- Elaboration of the Machine Learning methodology to build ROMs of the main electric vehicle components from the initial Full Order Models.
- High Confidence Models representing advanced versions of the ROMs, which are updated by the experimental data and enable the model adaptation to uncertain and variable factors.
- Preparation, launching and functional proof of the distributed local XIL test environment on the facilities of Technische Universität Ilmenau.
- Building and proof of several distributed remote XIL test environments conencting test facilities of the consortium participants at different geographical locations.
- Studies on the brake blending control, including elaboration of a set of recommendations regarding the consideration of thermal processes and methodology for regenerative braking tests.
- Studies on the ride blending and the integrated chassis control demonstrating that the developed remote XIL environment satisfies the real-time requirements by developing and testing highly complex controllers of electric vehicle systems.
- Fail-safe studies for the cases of communication failure, in-wheel motor short circuit, and torque inversion.

Based on the obtained outcomes, the project has produced a number of exploitable results as (i) shared and distributed XIL test methodology with a family of fully scalable demonstrators, and (ii) new / improved electric vehicle systems and functions validated through four Use Cases.
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 demonstrated 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 demonstarte the potential to open new market 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.

The project oucomes gives a strong background for future activities as:
- Mapping of XILforEV technology on company level;
- XILforEV extension with new hosts;
- Further Use Cases covering power electronics design, electric motor design and studies on connected and automated vehicle technologies;
- Transfer of knowledge to new projects;
- Open Science actions through free on-demand experiments.
XILforEV Architecture