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"My thesis is applied to an electric racing vehicle".
Andoni Medina, coordinator of Tecnun eRacing, states that Formula Student "is an interesting platform where to apply the algorithm I have designed".
Andoni Medina is coordinator of the School's automotive team and is currently working on a thesis that is being applied precisely to a racing vehicle. "So far my work has been mainly carried out through simulations, but I have not been able to apply it to any electric vehicle," says Medina. "Formula Student is an interesting platform where to apply the algorithm I have designed, but the disadvantage is that the availability of the students' vehicle is quite limited, since the schedule they have 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."
- In this project also participates another great Formula Student connoisseur, Koldo Iriarte, who is doing his Master's Thesis project , what is the PFM that Koldo is doing?
- 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 can't tell you due to confidentiality issues. 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 input 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 doing is inspired by the powertrain architecture of the TER18 and TER19, the current and previous Formula Student car 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 vehicles will also gradually start to be electric, and that they needed support for this. For us, the fact of collaborating with a designer and builder of racing vehicles 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 Martin), studying the suspension and construction of the yellow Formula Toyota -given for this occasion by this company- which is in the manufacturing workshop of 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 financial aid would be positive for my PhD, since I could apply my control logic to it. Having a physical platform available to cross-check the theoretical studies and simulations is a great asset to publish these studies, as my Thesis director , Guillermo Bistué, usually recommends me.
- 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 to improve the first car of the University. He is a professional driver, a luxury to work with him, 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 measurable parameters by the engineer the behavior of the car.
Ander collaborates with this car company for tire issues, and we coincided with him in the last tire test in Olaberria. It was very good for us because we were able to measure the performance of the current gasoline car (the model that is to be electrified), since the goal is that the electric vehicle is faster than its gasoline counterpart (simulations in principle show that the electric vehicle is faster). Koldo prepared the whole 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 promoters of project, since it fits perfectly within the framework "classroom AIC" 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 that model in the AIC simulator and see similarities with reality (first with the gasoline 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 explain us his sensations.
By the way, I want 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 projects from Degree by Borja Iribarren and Manuel Salazar (the latter also being part of framework classroom AIC).
- What does the test you are doing at the Olaberria circuit consist of?
- As I mentioned before, the idea was to measure the dynamic capabilities of the car, maximum accelerations, cornering speeds, lap time, and also to check that the data acquisition system works well. 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 automotive projects related to each other, but they all follow the same direction: We try to inherit, as much as possible, the process of design of vehicles that a big company like Toyota may have and try to apply it, not only in Formula Student, but in other automotive projects. These projects are, in fact, those that expand the range of action of the Automotive Laboratory and give natural continuity to the work carried out by Formula Student students.