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Data Acquisition In A Vehicle Instrumentation Course

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Instrumentation in Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.341.1 - 15.341.22



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Paper Authors


David McDonald Lake Superior State University

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David McDonald is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Lake Superior State University and the ASEE Campus Representative. He also does consulting in the area of test cell development for electric vehicle engineering.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Data Acquisition Applications in a Vehicle Instrumentation Course


The paper introduces instrumentation and data acquisition instruction in a course on vehicle instrumentation. The goal is to build students’ skill set with the technology while nurturing their skills and confidence in the design and implementation of testing processes and procedures.

Data acquisition instruction focuses on applications of MATLAB/Simulink, LabVIEW, and Controller Area Network (CAN) hardware and software. The instructional activities introduce typical industrial applications such as the concept of bench marking while engaging the students in the design of the testing process. It also introduces students to modeling and model validation when evaluating the acquired data from the device under test.

The specific course, EGEE365 Vehicle Instrumentation, was piloted twice as a special topics class, and is now a regular offering within a new Vehicle Systems Option in the Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Plans of Study. An overview of the course and it’s placement within a vehicle system option in electrical and mechanical engineering is outlined as a context for the data acquisition and control laboratory activities. Course instruction presents vehicle data acquisition applications while including discussions on the operation and testing of a generic electric vehicle drive train. An internal combustion vehicle and a vehicle chassis dynamometer are also used in the laboratory experience.

A sample laboratory project and assessment discussion is presented. An assessment data summary is also provided for the previous offering of the course along with the larger setting of engineering professionalism data in electrical and mechanical engineering.


The application of modern instrumentation is important in engineering education to provide students with critical skills for use in research and industry. Providing interesting and motivational learning opportunities in engineering laboratory experiences builds students’ enthusiasm while teaching critical skills in modern instrumentation and engineering problem solving. It is relatively easy to provide students with interesting instrumentation activities today by using low cost data acquisition hardware and software, and to explore interesting data acquisition applications while implementing group, project-based instruction. Vehicle instrumentation applications today embrace a large spectrum of applications with the increased emphasis on CAN communications and emerging areas such as the growth in electric vehicle development and vehicle-to-vehicle communications. This technology provides an avenue to teach core concepts and techniques of data acquisition while focusing on modern applications within vehicle engineering including electric vehicle applications.

McDonald, D. (2010, June), Data Acquisition In A Vehicle Instrumentation Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16278

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