Leading car industry design engineer Ricardo has developed a new generation of software for engine management systems which promises to cut vehicle development time.
It has developed torque-based algorithms for a range of engines, and is demonstrating them on a BMW 540 at its Shoreham design centre.
The new algorithms will offer potential for improved fuel economy, reduced emissions and enhanced `driveability’, as well as making it easier to integrate other vehicle electronic systems.
Existing engine management systems control fuelling and ignition timing (and valve timing in some engines) through a mathematical model which relates these factors to engine revs.
The main innovation of the new software is that it uses a model which links fuelling and ignition timing to torque. The advantage of this is that all the demands on the engine can be expressed in terms of torque. The driver pressing the throttle pedal is a demand for torque; ABS and traction control systems typically demand a torque reduction; transmission control software demands a momentary reduction in torque while a gear change is made. Power-hungry equipment such as air conditioning can also be seen as a demand for torque.
It is easier for engineers to design software for systems such as ABS to work in terms of torque demand, because they do not need a detailed understanding of the engine management system.
The Ricardo torque-based algorithm simply takes the torque demands from each of the other systems and works out the appropriate fuel and ignition timing settings to satisfy them.
This promises to make it much more straightforward to integrate new systems. As drive-by-wire throttle pedals become commonplace, designers will be able to tailor how the car responds to throttle inputs, to improve driveability and produce driving characteristics associated with a given marque.
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