Towards an Open Source Model for Engine Control Systems 2008-01-1711
Traditionally, university research in engine technology has been focused on fundamental engine phenomena. Increasingly however, research topics are developing in the form of systems issues. Examples include air and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) management, after-treatment systems, engine cooling, hybrid systems and energy recovery.
This trend leads to the need for engine research to be conducted using currently available products and components that are re-configured or incrementally improved to support a particular research investigation. A production engine will include an electronic control unit (ECU) that must be understood and utilised or simply removed and circumvented. In general the intellectual property (IP) limitations places on ECUs by their suppliers mean that they cannot be used. The supplier of the ECU is usually unable to reveal any detail of the implementation. As a consequence any research using production hardware is seriously disadvantaged from the beginning.
For there to be a future for systems research, there needs to be a viable alternative to the “as supplied” ECU that can be used throughout the broader research community. The aim of this paper is to describe the background and then to make the case for an open source community working on an engine control solution. The development of an open source community is a project in its own right and aspects of the project are introduced. The paper starts with an evaluation of the design process. Open source as a means of creating a broad research community is discussed. A simple generic architecture is presented for engine control and the paper concludes with a review of the issues surrounding the development of an open source community.