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Development of a Low-cost Automotive Communications Network Course for EE and ME Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Efforts in Upper-level Courses

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Aurenice Menezes Oliveira Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Aurenice Oliveira is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University. She received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA, in 2005. Her current research interests include communication systems, digital signal processing, optical fiber systems, automative networks, and engineering education. Dr. Oliveira is member of the ASEE Electrical and Computer Engineering Division, IEEE senior member in the Communications Society, and member of the Association of International Educators. She is also advisor for Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapter at Michigan Tech.

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In today’s modern automobiles, safety, comfort and performance requirements have been constantly increasing. As a result, modern automotive electronic systems contain a complex network of electronic control units (ECU), sensors and actuators distributed and embedded in almost any vehicle. The increase in the number of ECU and communication signals with complex interrelation between them requires more robust and time efficient intra-vehicle communication. This is especially important in automotive manufacturing as vehicles become increasingly reliant on robust electronic networks and systems for improved reliability, anti-lock brake systems, steering, on-board navigation systems, and much more. Therefore, the education of engineers to work on these systems is critical.

Despite of the fact that automotive networks such as Controller Area Networks (CAN), Local Interconnect Network (LIN), FlexRay, and Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) are broadly applied in the automotive industry, the offering of courses in this area is very limited. There was no offering of similar course in my institution either in the Electrical Engineering (EE) or Mechanical Engineering (ME) programs. To address this gap in the curriculum, a new automotive networks course was developed to educate students from both EE and ME majors. The course was designed to be accessible to students of either discipline. EE students gain insight of topics including automotive instrumentation and vehicle functional domain, while ME students gain insight of digital communication, serial communication, and their interplay in automotive bus systems. The course also has a lab component developed to strengthen content understanding of students from both majors. The lab experiments are based on low cost hardware and software in Arduino environment.

This paper provides details on an automotive networks course content, textbook and reference selection, lab experiments, student feedback and other lessons learned.

Oliveira, A. M. (2016, June), Development of a Low-cost Automotive Communications Network Course for EE and ME Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26799

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