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Technical Paper

VoGe: A Voice and Gesture System for Interacting with Autonomous Cars

In the next 20 years fully autonomous vehicles are expected to be in the market. The advance on their development is creating paradigm shifts on different automotive related research areas. Vehicle interiors design and human vehicle interaction are evolving to enable interaction flexibility inside the cars. However, most of today’s vehicle manufacturers’ autonomous car concepts maintain the steering wheel as a control element. While this approach allows the driver to take over the vehicle route if needed, it causes a constraint in the previously mentioned interaction flexibility. Other approaches, such as the one proposed by Google, enable interaction flexibility by removing the steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals. However, this prevents the users to take control over the vehicle route if needed, not allowing them to make on-route spontaneous decisions, such as stopping at a specific point of interest.
Technical Paper

Use of Cellphones as Alternative Driver Inputs in Passenger Vehicles

Automotive drive-by-wire systems have enabled greater mobility options for individuals with physical disabilities. To further expand the driving paradigm, a need exists to consider an alternative vehicle steering mechanism to meet specific needs and constraints. In this study, a cellphone steering controller was investigated using a fixed-base driving simulator. The cellphone incorporated the direction control of the vehicle through roll motion, as well as the brake and throttle functionality through pitch motion, a design that can assist disabled drivers by excluding extensive arm and leg movements. Human test subjects evaluated the cellphone with conventional vehicle control strategy through a series of roadway maneuvers. Specifically, two distinctive driving situations were studied: a) obstacle avoidance test, and b) city road traveling test. A conventional steering wheel with self-centering force feedback tuning was used for all the driving events for comparison.
Technical Paper

Testing a Formula SAE Racecar on a Seven-Poster Vehicle Dynamics Simulator

Vehicle dynamics simulation is one of the newest and most valuable technologies being applied in the racing world today. Professional designers and race teams are investing heavily to test and improve the dynamics of their suspension systems through this new technology. This paper discusses the testing of one of Clemson University's most recent Formula SAE racecars on a seven-poster vehicle dynamics simulator; commonly known as a “shaker rig.” Testing of the current dampers using a shock dynamometer was conducted prior to testing and results are included for further support of conclusions. The body of the paper is a discussion of the setup and testing procedures involved with the dynamic simulator. The results obtained from the dynamic simulator tests are then analyzed in conjunction with the shock dynamometer results. Conclusions are formed from test results and methods for future improvements to be applied in Formula SAE racing are suggested.
Technical Paper

Teaching Autonomous Vehicles How to Drive under Sensing Exceptions by Human Driving Demonstrations

Autonomous driving technologies can provide better safety, comfort and efficiency for future transportation systems. Most research in this area has mainly been focused on developing sensing and control approaches to achieve various autonomous driving functions. Very little of this research, however, has studied how to efficiently handle sensing exceptions. A simple exception measured by any of the sensors may lead to failures in autonomous driving functions. The autonomous vehicles are then supposed to be sent back to manufacturers for repair, which takes both time and money. This paper introduces an efficient approach to make human drivers able to online teach autonomous vehicles to drive under sensing exceptions. A human-vehicle teaching-and-learning framework for autonomous driving is proposed and the human teaching and vehicle learning processes for handling sensing exceptions in autonomous vehicles are designed in detail.
Technical Paper

Smart Thermostat and Coolant Pump Control for Engine Thermal Management Systems

The introduction of mechatronic components into thermal-mechanical systems provides an opportunity to apply real time control strategies for enhanced engine performance. The traditional automotive thermal management system contains the engine, thermostat, air cooled radiator, and centrifugal pump driven by the crankshaft belt. A servo-motor valve and pump may be inserted into the vehicle's heating/cooling system to regulate the coolant flow with the engine control unit. To study these dual actuators, a scale experimental cooling system has been investigated. This automotive inspired thermal system contains a heater, smart thermostat valve, radiator, and variable speed electric pump. A lumped parameter model has been developed to describe the system's behavioral response and establish the basis for temperature regulation. Real time control algorithms are introduced for the synchronous regulation of the valve and pump.
Technical Paper

Real-Time Reinforcement Learning Optimized Energy Management for a 48V Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Energy management of hybrid vehicle has been a widely researched area. Strategies like dynamic programming (DP), equivalent consumption minimization strategy (ECMS), Pontryagin’s minimum principle (PMP) are well analyzed in literatures. However, the adaptive optimization work is still lacking, especially for reinforcement learning (RL). In this paper, Q-learning, as one of the model-free reinforcement learning method, is implemented in a mid-size 48V mild parallel hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) framework to optimize the fuel economy. Different from other RL work in HEV, this paper only considers vehicle speed and vehicle torque demand as the Q-learning states. SOC is not included for the reduction of state dimension. This paper focuses on showing that the EMS with non-SOC state vectors are capable of controlling the vehicle and outputting satisfactory results. Electric motor torque demand is chosen as action.
Technical Paper

Prediction of Human Actions in Assembly Process by a Spatial-Temporal End-to-End Learning Model

It’s important to predict human actions in the industry assembly process. Foreseeing future actions before they happened is an essential part for flexible human-robot collaboration and crucial to safety issues. Vision-based human action prediction from videos provides intuitive and adequate knowledge for many complex applications. This problem can be interpreted as deducing the next action of people from a short video clip. The history information needs to be considered to learn these relations among time steps for predicting the future steps. However, it is difficult to extract the history information and use it to infer the future situation with traditional methods. In this scenario, a model is needed to handle the spatial and temporal details stored in the past human motions and construct the future action based on limited accessible human demonstrations.
Technical Paper

Physiological Limits of Underpressure and Overpressure for Mechanical Counter Pressure Suits

The first concept and early experiments of a mechanical counter pressure (MCP) spacesuit were published by Webb in the late 1960's. MCP provides an alternative approach to the conventional full pressure suit that bears some significant advantages, such as increased mobility, dexterity, and tactility. The presented ongoing research provides a thorough investigation of the physiological effect of mechanical counter pressure applied onto the human skin. In this study, we investigated local microcirculatory effects produced with negative and positive ambient pressure on the lower body as a preliminary study for a lower body garment. The data indicates that the positive pressure was less tolerable than negative pressure. Lower body negative and positive pressure cause various responses in skin blood flow due to not only blood shifts but also direct exposure to pressure differentials.
Technical Paper

Physics-Based Exhaust Pressure and Temperature Estimation for Low Pressure EGR Control in Turbocharged Gasoline Engines

Low pressure (LP) and cooled EGR systems are capable of increasing fuel efficiency of turbocharged gasoline engines, however they introduce control challenges. Accurate exhaust pressure modeling is of particular importance for real-time feedforward control of these EGR systems since they operate under low pressure differentials. To provide a solution that does not depend on physical sensors in the exhaust and also does not require extensive calibration, a coupled temperature and pressure physics-based model is proposed. The exhaust pipe is split into two different lumped sections based on flow conditions in order to calculate turbine-outlet pressure, which is the driving force for LP-EGR. The temperature model uses the turbine-outlet temperature as an input, which is known through existing engine control models, to determine heat transfer losses through the exhaust.
Technical Paper

Modeling the Effect of Thermal Barrier Coatings on HCCI Engine Combustion Using CFD Simulations with Conjugate Heat Transfer

Thermal barrier coatings with low conductivity and low heat capacity have been shown to improve the performance of homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines. These coatings improve the combustion process by reducing heat transfer during the hot portion of the engine cycle without the penalty thicker coatings typically have on volumetric efficiency. Computational fluid dynamic simulations with conjugate heat transfer between the in-cylinder fluid and solid piston of a single cylinder HCCI engine with exhaust valve rebreathing are carried out to further understand the impacts of these coatings on the combustion process. For the HCCI engine studied with exhaust valve rebreathing, it is shown that simulations needed to be run for multiple engine cycles for the results to converge given how sensitive the rebreathing process is to the residual gas state.
Technical Paper

Modeling and Learning of Object Placing Tasks from Human Demonstrations in Smart Manufacturing

In this paper, we present a framework for the robot to learn how to place objects to a workpiece by learning from humans in smart manufacturing. In the proposed framework, the rational scene dictionary (RSD) corresponding to the keyframes of task (KFT) are used to identify the general object-action-location relationships. The Generalized Voronoi Diagrams (GVD) based contour is used to determine the relative position and orientation between the object and the corresponding workpiece at the final state. In the learning phase, we keep tracking the image segments in the human demonstration. For the moment when a spatial relation of some segments are changed in a discontinuous way, the state changes are recorded by the RSD. KFT is abstracted after traversing and searching in RSD, while the relative position and orientation of the object and the corresponding mount are presented by GVD-based contours for the keyframes.
Technical Paper

Lazy Parts Indication Method: Application to Automotive Components

A new approach to lightweight engineering of vehicles focuses on identifying and eliminating Lazy Parts through the application of the Lazy Parts Indication Method (LPIM). In this context, Lazy Parts are defined as components that have the potential for mass reduction for a number of reasons discussed in previous literature. The focus of this research is to apply the LPIM to an automotive component, identify potential mass savings, and redesign the component to address the laziness and begin to validate the LPIM as well at the estimated mass savings. A generator mounting bracket for a vehicle is analyzed using the LPIM and redesigned. The application of the LPIM to the generator mounting bracket predicted an estimated mass savings of 10% (0.32kg), while the actual redesign of the bracket revealed a 12% (0.38kg) mass savings.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Rollover, Lateral Handling, and Obstacle Avoidance Maneuvers of Tactical Vehicles

Current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are unique because the battlefield can be described as a non-linear, asymmetrical environment. Units operate in zones that are susceptible to enemy contact from any direction at any time. The response to these issues has been the addition of add-on armor to HMMWV's and other tactical vehicles. The retro-fitting of armor to these vehicles has resulted in many accidents due to rollover and instability. The goal of this paper is to determine possible causes of the instability and rollover of up-armored tactical vehicles and to develop simulation tools that can analyze the steady-state and transient dynamics of the vehicles. Models and simulations include a steady-state rollover scenario, analysis of understeer gradient, and a transient handling analysis that uses models of both a human driver and a vehicle to analyze vehicle response to an obstacle avoidance maneuver.
Technical Paper

Handling Deviation for Autonomous Vehicles after Learning from Small Dataset

Learning only from a small set of examples remains a huge challenge in machine learning. Despite recent breakthroughs in the applications of neural networks, the applicability of these techniques has been limited by the requirement for large amounts of training data. What’s more, the standard supervised machine learning method does not provide a satisfactory solution for learning new concepts from little data. However, the ability to learn enough information from few samples has been demonstrated in humans. This suggests that humans may make use of prior knowledge of a previously learned model when learning new ones on a small amount of training examples. In the area of autonomous driving, the model learns to drive the vehicle with training data from humans, and most machine learning based control algorithms require training on very large datasets. Collecting and constructing training data set takes a huge amount of time and needs specific knowledge to gather relevant information.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of an Automotive Simulator Based Driver Safety Training Program for Run-Off-the-Road and Recovery

Despite the growing acceptance of driver education programs, there remains a class of unpredictable and dangerous vehicle situations for which very little training or education is offered. Included in this list is a condition called run-off-the-road (ROR) which occurs when the wheels of the vehicle leave the paved surface of the road and begin to travel on the lower friction surfaces of the shoulder or side of the road. Unsuccessful recovery from ROR contributes to an overwhelming percentage of motorized vehicle crash fatalities and injuries. Most present solutions involve roadway infrastructure management and driver assistance systems. While these solutions have contributed varying amounts of success to the ROR problem, they remain limited as they do not directly address the critical cause of ROR crashes which is driver performance errors.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of CarFit® Criteria Compliance and Knowledge of Seat Adjustment

Improper fit in a vehicle will affect a driver’s ability to reach the steering wheel and pedals, view the roadway and instrument gauges, and allow vehicle safety features to protect the driver during a crash. CarFit® is a community outreach program to educate older drivers on proper “fit” within their personal vehicle. A subset of measurements from CarFit® were used to quantify the “fit” of 97 older drivers over 60 and 20 younger drivers, ages 30-39, in their personal vehicles. Binary, logistic regression was used to assess the likelihood of drivers meeting the CarFit® measurement criteria prior to and after CarFit® education. The results showed older drivers were five times more likely than younger drivers to meet the CarFit® criteria for line of sight above the steering wheel, suggesting that younger drivers would also benefit from CarFit® education.
Technical Paper

Development of New Turbulence Models and Computational Methods for Automotive Aerodynamics and Heat Transfer

This paper is a review of turbulence models and computational methods that have been produced at Clemson University's Advanced Computational Research Laboratory. The goal of the turbulence model development has been to create physics-based models that are economically feasible and can be used in a competitive environment, where turnaround time is a critical factor. Given this goal, all of the work has been focused on Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations in the eddy-viscosity framework with the majority of the turbulence models having three transport equations in addition to mass, momentum, and energy. Several areas have been targeted for improvement in turbulence modeling for complex flows such as those found in motorsports aerodynamics: the effects of streamline curvature and rotation on the turbulence field, laminar-turbulent transition, and separated shear layer rollup and breakdown.
Technical Paper

Conceptualization and Implementation of a Scalable Powertrain, Modular Energy Storage and an Alternative Cooling System on a Student Concept Vehicle

The Deep Orange program immerses automotive engineering students into the world of an OEM as part of their 2-year graduate education. In support of developing the program’s seventh vehicle concept, the students studied the sponsoring brand essence, conducted market research, and made a heuristic assessment of competitor vehicles. The upfront research lead to the definition of target customers and setting vehicle level targets that were broken down into requirements to develop various vehicle sub-systems. The powertrain team was challenged to develop a scalable propulsion concept enabled by a common vehicle architecture that allowed future customers to select (at the point of purchase) among various levels of electrification best suiting their needs and personal desires. Four different configurations were identified and developed: all-electric, two plug-in hybrid electric configurations, and an internal combustion engine only.
Journal Article

Chassis Dynamometer as a Development Platform for Vehicle Hardware In-the-Loop “VHiL”

This manuscript provides a review of different types and categorization of the chassis dynamometer systems. The review classifies the chassis dynamometers based on the configuration, type of rollers and the application type. Additionally the manuscript discusses several application examples of the chassis dynamometer including: performance and endurance mileage accumulation tests, fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions, noise, vibration and harshness testing (NVH). Different types of the vehicle attachment system in the dynamometer cell and its influences on the driving force characteristics and the vehicle acoustic signature is also discussed. The text also highlights the impact of the use of the chassis dynamometer as a development platform and its impact on the development process. Examples of using chassis dynamometer as a development platform using Vehicle Hardware In-the-Loop (VHiL) approach including drivability assessment and transmission calibrations are presented.
Journal Article

Characterization of Flow Drill Screwdriving Process Parameters on Joint Quality

A state of the art proprietary method for aluminum-to-aluminum joining in the automotive industry is Resistance Spot Welding. However, with spot welding (1) structural performance of the joint may be degraded through heat-affected zones created by the high temperature thermal joining process, (2) achieving the double-sided access necessary for the spot welding electrodes may limit design flexibility, and (3) variability with welds leads to production inconsistencies. Self-piercing rivets have been used before; however they require different rivet/die combinations depending on the material being joined, which adds to process complexity. In recent years the introductions of screw products that combine the technologies of friction drilling and thread forming have entered the market. These types of screw products do not have these access limitations as through-part connections are formed by one-sided access using a thermo-mechanical flow screwdriving process with minimal heat.