Advanced Modelling and Energy Efficiency Prediction

Fuel consumption still represents a conspicuous part of many transports companies’ total operating cost. Fuel saving can be achieved by means of many different strategies. A potential of great fuel saving is to tailor the vehicle towards to the use. This thesis project is concerned with a real-world case-study for estimating fuel consumption of a heavy-duty vehicle employed for construction operations. The final aim is to match data from the collected log-files and to carry out a sensitivity analysis to identify the most relevant parameters affecting the vehicles’ performance in terms of consumption and emissions.
For the present purpose, a conventional driving cycle, which postulates the target speed as a function of time independently of the external stimuli, is not suitable. Indeed, it is an oversimplified description that does not allow predictive systems, such as choice of gear or kinetic energy buffers, to influence vehicle motion and their contribution to the increase in efficiency disappears. Furthermore, real-world transport cycles are something quite sophisticated which requires advanced modelling of vehicular operating conditions. For Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV) or construction ones, which are tasked to accomplish very specific road missions as in the case, enhanced representations of the environment and vehicle characteristics are needed. For example, suitable models able to reflect CoG variation due to load changes, long-combination dynamics, varying road pitch influence over energy efficiency must be included.
Hence, a new description, the operating cycle-format (OC) [1,2], which can overcome many of main drawbacks of the conventional driving cycles, will be used. It includes the essentials of the road, weather, traffic and mission that are needed to describe the physics of the road-vehicle interaction.
However, being a more realistic and complex description, it renders many of the methods for conventional driving cycles obsolete and new ones are needed. The format is primarily aimed to aid simulations by providing a comprehensive description of the road and the environment to feed realistic, and often complex, vehicle models with meaningful input. Hence, simulation models and their accuracy are of vital importance.
This problem is an active research subject that combines understanding of the format, its underlying mechanisms, driver and vehicle modelling, as well as dynamic simulation that involve all parts. The thesis project is part of the wider COVER [3] one, and involves Volvo GTT, Scania, Volvo Car Group, RISE, VTI and Chalmers.
Furthermore, all the models developed in the context of the thesis work will be integrated within VehProp, an already-existing open-source tool for longitudinal dynamics which aims at becoming the leading platform for powertrain simulation in Scandinavia.
Problem motivating the project
This thesis project is concerned about the development of an effective operating strategy to improve vehicular efficiency during transport missions.
For successful vehicle development, it is important to represent the usage and vehicle in a realistic way. A fair comparison of components, functions and strategies rely on the underlying road and mission description to be suitable and accurate, and the same goes for the involved simulation models.
Therefore, a library of models needs to be developed to enable a study of component influence. However, the required level of detail in the models, to fully utilize the new way of describing the simulation input, is unknown.
Sketch of work
Successful candidates will work on developing models with the intention to illustrate the OC-format. Among others, the main tasks are:
  • Extracting meaningful OC-parameters from real log-data
  • Detailed modelling of the case-study truck
  • Parametric study and sensitivity analysis on the relevant parameters affecting fuel consumption and emissions
The models will be implemented and simulated in VehProp environment.
Research Question
  • What is the defining level of details in the simulation models to fully utilize the OC-format?
  • How can this level be found and tested?
  • What are the benefits and weaknesses with the use of the OC-format?
  • Deep understanding and reliable representation of the main causes of fuel consumption
  • A technical paper suitable for presentation at an international conference. The paper should preferably be a part of the thesis, to avoid redundant documentation
Academic subject / pre-requisites:
  • Modelling and simulation skills with automotive interest
  • MATLAB-Simulink modelling experience
  • Particularly students from fundamental physics, engineering physics, engineering mathematics, mechatronics/control or mechanical/automotive
  • At least a basic course in dynamic modelling/simulation
  • Fundamental understanding of longitudinal vehicle dynamics
  • Fundamental understanding of numerical solution methods
  • Knowledge of basic mechanics
  • Number of credits: 30 points per student (nominally 20 weeks)
  • Starting date: January 2020 or earlier
  • Resources/Stakeholder: Volvo GTT (the thesis will be within VGTT but in close cooperation with Chalmers.)
  • Responsible subject/research group at Chalmers:
    • Examiner: Fredrik Bruzelius
    • Supervisors:
      • Industrial: Anders Eriksson/Rickard Andersson: +46 31 3233054 (Volvo GTT)
      • Academic: Luigi Romano
  • Physical location: Volvo GTT at Johanneberg and Chalmers

Om oss

The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines under the leading brands Volvo, Renault Trucks, Mack, UD Trucks, Eicher, SDLG, Terex Trucks, Prevost, Nova Bus, UD Bus and Volvo Penta.

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