Worldwide activities in the field of electric powered personal vehicles are in constant state of growth. However, the complex interconnect between the vehicle, the infrastructure and user behavior are only marginally taken into account. Due to the considerably higher energy consumption and CO2 output inherent to goods transport vehicles, these factors have to be thoroughly considered and dealt with accordingly.
The goal of our project is to implement a holistic approach to electromobility, with an emphasis on the goods transport. Focus is being placed onto three research areas:
· System architecture
· Drive train and energy management
· Human-machine interface
The proposed modular architecture tries to achieve optimal information flow between all functional units whilst reducing communication overhead. Redundancy concepts for safety critical systems and data fusion are additional key points. All the automotive technologies of the future are being seamlessly integrated into the modular architecture.
Energy management and distribution is interwoven with optimal driving strategy. Bulk of the total vehicle energy is being produced and consumed in the drive train. Terrain profile is an important factor to consider when planning the drive strategy. The total energy flow is being analyzed, from the very beginning in solar cells and regenerative brakes, over storage, transport and distribution to the end consumption. The last step is optimized through an innovative design and forged wheels to reduce the rolling drag. The vehicle in itself represents a micro smart grid or an instance of the smart building concept.
An integrated human-machine interface is to be implemented, adjusting to the environment conditions, driver state and personal driver profile. Only the most important information shall be conveyed to the driver, in the form of visual, audio, haptic or force feedback. The ever increasing functionality of the driver workspace must not result with the same rise in the amount of data sent to the driver.
Safety is considered on multiple abstraction levels and system modules. Active safety mechanisms try to avoid the accidents by analyzing the vehicle surroundings and the driver state. Passive safety mechanisms are reducing the overall consequences after the incident has begun to happen. Pre-safe mechanisms are preparing the passive ones for a quicker reaction in the moments before the impact takes place.
The experimental vehicle platform was provided by the project leader Prof. Dr. Gernot Spiegelberg, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Technical University of Munich. The vehicle design is extremely streamlined, including a flat vehicle base due to the lack of pressured air containers. A constant air pressure of 10 bars is being stored in so-called plug-in axels, which serve as smart actuator units. This approach enables parallel braking in both trailer and semitrailer.
A road show event is being planned, which will expose the vehicle to international audience and turn it into both subject and object of the development. A “Science club” is also to be formed, which will continue the work on future projects. An emphasis is placed on the introduction and networking of young scientists.