Asee peer logo

Integrating Hardware In The Loop Into University Automotive Engineering Programs

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Capstone Design Projects

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.767.1 - 15.767.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Michael Wahlstrom Argonne National Laboratory

author page

Frank Falcone Argonne National Laboratory

author page

Doug Nelson Virginia Tech

Download Paper |

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

Integrating Hardware-in-the-Loop into University Automotive Engineering Programs Using Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions Abstract

Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation has become a staple of the vehicle development process in the automotive industry. For university vehicle design and engineering programs to stay relevant, the industry development process must be mirrored in a low cost, efficient manner. HIL has been outside of the realm of possibility at universities due to the complex modeling techniques and information required, as well as the prohibitive cost. Supplying universities with low cost, function development-based HIL systems reduces the vehicle development time by parallelizing the process while educating students on cutting-edge vehicle design techniques.

Reducing the complexity of the hardware reduces the overall utility however lessens the cost associated with networking Electronic Control Units (ECU). Also, developing simpler, lower fidelity models reduces required computing resources and cost.

This paper will explore the required system configuration as well as the optimal fidelity of the models to allow for function development at the university with a low overall cost. As well, the paper will focus on the introduction of the HIL system into the university vehicle development process and the benefits of utilization.


As the need for more efficient, cleaner vehicles increases, so does the need to educate the future workforce to be ready to deal with the current environmental issues. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has been sponsoring Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) at the university level since 1988. The most recent competition, Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility came to a conclusion May 2008, in Washington, DC. The follow up competition, EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge has now commenced its three year cycle, with competition ev years, influenced by current social concerns such as petroleum reduction, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and increased fuel economy, and the inclusion of advanced technologies such as Ethanol, Biodiesel, Hydrogen, Grid Electric energy.

The complexities of the powertrain systems in EcoCAR have forced the universities to become much more involved in component control than past competitions. For example, previous competitions would typically couple an engine with a transmission that was designed to work with that engine. As the powertrains become more diverse, many schools need to make an engine work with other transmissions or motors that were never designed to be integrated together. Taking this step forward in powertrain design enables greater efficiency benefits, but is coupled with a large increase in system level control capabilities. These capabilities are not typically available at the academic level.

Wahlstrom, M., & Falcone, F., & Nelson, D. (2010, June), Integrating Hardware In The Loop Into University Automotive Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16509

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015