Alternative Fuels Team Uses Maple Tool to Generate Optimized Code for Real-time Simulation of Fuel Cell Technology
WATERLOO, CANADA – June 29, 2005 – Maplesoft, the leading provider of high-performance software tools for engineering, science and mathematics, wishes to congratulate the Alternative Fuels Team from the University of Waterloo for capturing first place in the first year of the Challenge X engineering competition. Sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy, the goal of the three-year competition featuring 17 North American engineering schools is to re-engineer a GM Equinox, a crossover sport utility vehicle, to minimize energy consumption, emissions, and greenhouse gases while maintaining or exceeding the vehicle’s utility and performance.
The team used DynaFlexPro, a Maple tool for advanced mechatronic system modeling, to create a high-fidelity vehicle dynamics model for use in a real-time simulator. The model includes their proposed propulsion system - a "series" fuel cell hybrid featuring a Hydrogenics polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell with a COBASYS 336-volt nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery. The design will be engineered into a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox during years two and three of the Challenge X competition.
Once published, all the math is live in the Web browser and as a result, colleagues around the world can work with, and benefit from, high-powered, live math without needing a copy of Maple 10 installed locally on their computer.
After the model was formulated using DynaFlexPro, optimized C code was exported from Maple and used in a simulator built on software from MATLAB and Opal-RT. The simulator allows users to interact with the proposed vehicle design via a steering wheel, brake pedal, and accelerator. A vehicle animation and important powertrain data are displayed on screen and give the user an indication of how the proposed design will perform in the real world.
In addition to the driving simulator application, the UWAFT team also uses the DynaFlexPro model as a platform to test traction control and regenerative braking control algorithms.
"We’re delighted at the success of our team in such a prestigious competition." said Prof. John McPhee, leader of the Motion Research Group at the University of Waterloo, which developed DynaFlexPro. "Challenge X offers an opportunity for students to gain valuable experience in real-world engineering practices. In addition to helping develop state-of-the-art automotive technologies that will improve our economy and the environment, the competition allows students to develop first-hand knowledge of the technical tools they will use in their professional careers."
About Challenge X
The General Motors Corporation (GM), the U.S. Department of Energy, and other government and industry leaders have developed Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility. This ground-breaking, three-year competition will provide engineering schools an opportunity to participate in hands-on research and development with leading-edge automotive propulsion, fuels, materials, and emissions-control technologies. Challenge X shows that the cooperation of industry, government, and academia is the best approach to develop more energy-efficient and “greener” automotive technologies, to improve our economy and our environment, and to keep North American technology competitive on a global basis. The competition also helps develop hundreds of highly skilled engineers with a greater awareness of these technologies — preparing them to lead the automotive industry in the 21st Century. For more information, visit www.challengex.org.
About The University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team
The University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) is a student organization that researches, designs and implements vehicle modifications for use with alternative fuels, such as ethanol, propane and hydrogen. Team members are from a variety of academic backgrounds, including all engineering disciplines as well as other faculties. Part of the role of UWAFT is to represent the University of Waterloo at various alternative fuels competitions around the world. Since its formation in 1996, UWAFT has led students in the ongoing quest to improve the environmental friendliness of motor vehicle emissions. For more information, visit www.uwaft.uwaterloo.ca/team.htm.
Maplesoft is a leading developer and provider of interactive mathematical software. Its suite of products includes Maple, the most powerful and intuitive tool for solving complex mathematical problems and creating rich, executable technical documents; MapleNet, a Web-based platform for sharing Maple content for collaboration and e-learning; and a range of modelling and simulation add-on tools, including DynaFlexPro, due for release in late July 2005. The standards-compliant algorithms in Maple are renowned for their speed, accuracy and reliability. In addition, Maplesoft leads the market with innovations that make the management of technical knowledge – whether in industry, or in a classroom – more effective and efficient. Over two million users at thousands of organizations benefit from advanced Maple technology. The Maplesoft commercial customer base includes Boeing, Bosch, Canon and NASA. Additionally, virtually every major university and research institute in the world, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford and Waterloo, has adopted Maplesoft products to enhance their education and research activities. For more information, visit www.maplesoft.com.