LATEST NEWS AND EVENTS FROM THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
"My thesis is applied to an electric racing vehicle".
Andoni Medina, coordinator of Tecnun eRacing, says that Formula Student "is an interesting platform where to apply the algorithm I have designed".
Andoni Medina is the coordinator of the School's automotive team and is currently working on a thesis that is being applied to a racing vehicle. "So far, my work has mainly been carried out through simulations, but I have not been able to apply it to any electric vehicle," says Medina. "The Formula Student is an interesting platform to apply the algorithm I have designed, but the disadvantage is that the availability of the students' vehicle is quite limited, as their schedule is really tight. Apart from this, as it is a new prototype every year, for the moment we have not managed to make it robust enough - although the students improve and improve the car every year - to carry out the implementation and validation of the system I am designing".
- Another great Formula Student expert, Koldo Iriarte, is also taking part in this project. What is Koldo's PFM project about?
- Koldo's PFM consists of proposing the design for the electrification of a racing car that is currently being manufactured for a company whose name we cannot reveal for confidentiality reasons. But the company that designs and manufactures these vehicles has extensive experience in racing cars, and they are now working on the transition to electric powertrain. Koldo's contribution is very interesting and valuable for them, as he already has a lot of experience in this, thanks to his time in Formula Student. In fact, the proposal he is making is inspired by the powertrain architecture of the TER18 and TER19, the current and previous Formula Student cars of our students.
- How did this collaboration come about and what is its purpose?
- This company was interested in the electric Formula Student. They explained to us their vision that, in the near future, racing cars will also gradually start to go electric, and that they needed support for this. For us, the fact of collaborating with a designer and builder of racing cars seemed very interesting and a great opportunity, the kind that comes along very occasionally. The collaboration with them is a great training opportunity for us, we have two other students also doing the project with them (Asier Romay and Aitor Martín), studying the suspension and construction of the yellow Formula Toyota -given for this occasion by this company- which is in the manufacturing workshop in Ibaeta. A third student, Imanol Irizar, is also carrying out a suspension study in collaboration with them.
On the other hand, the fact that this company managed to give birth to an electric vehicle with our help would be positive for my PhD, as I would be able to apply my control logic to it. Having a physical platform available to cross-check theoretical studies and simulations is a great asset for publishing these studies, as my thesis supervisor, Guillermo Bistué, often recommends.
- The pilot Ander Vilariño has also participated in this work, what role does he play?
- Ander is an old acquaintance of ours and an exceptional professional. Back in 2009, when I was a member of the Formula Student team, he helped us improve the University's first car. He is a professional driver, a luxury to work with, his profile reminds me of the test drivers I used to work with at Toyota: serious, analytical, observant: a gentleman. A man who is able to get into a racing prototype, go 100% of the car from the first lap, and as soon as he gets out, report in detail and with parameters measurable by the engineer, the behaviour of the car.
Ander collaborates with this car company on tyre issues, and we met him at the last tyre test in Olaberria. It was very good for us because we were able to measure the performance of the current petrol car (the model to be electrified), as the aim is for the electric vehicle to be faster than its petrol counterpart (simulations in principle show that the electric vehicle is faster). Koldo prepared the entire data acquisition system and is now updating the mathematical model of the vehicle.
- Are there any other institutions involved in this project?
- Yes, it is also necessary to mention AIC(www.aicenter.eu), as they are also one of the driving forces behind the project, since it fits perfectly within the "AIC Classroom" framework that they are carrying out. Once Koldo has updated the mathematical model with the data from Ander's test in Olaberria, the idea is to install this model in the AIC simulator and see similarities with reality (first with the petrol car, and then see the difference that the same car would get with the electric powertrain). Once this is finished, we will invite Ander to test the simulator and tell us his feelings.
By the way, I would like to mention that for this it is also necessary to convert the Olaberria Circuit to 3D, and for this we are fortunate to have two final degree projects by Borja Iribarren and Manuel Salazar (the latter also being part of the AIC Aula framework).
- What does the test you are doing at the Olaberria circuit consist of?
- As I mentioned before, the aim was to measure the dynamic capabilities of the car, maximum accelerations, cornering speeds, lap times, and also to check that the data acquisition system is working properly. We have an inertial sensor that cost quite a lot of money, and we wanted to check in this test that the measurements it gives are reasonable. As you can see, we have a lot of related automotive projects, but they all follow the same direction: We try to inherit, as much as possible, the vehicle design process that a big company like Toyota might have and try to apply it, not only in Formula Student, but also in other automotive projects. These projects are, in fact, the ones that expand the range of action of the Automotive Laboratory and give natural continuity to the work carried out by Formula Student students.