In a press release submitted by Ford Motor Company last month, ME PhD student Daniel Opila was cited for his major contributions to the research being performed in partnership by Ford and EECS Professor Jessy Grizzle. Their research explores ways of improving fuel economy while allowing for optimal driving experiences. The new technology has already been tested with 2,500 road trips, and the data is being analyzed to determine how internal electronic vehicle controls could be tweaked to further improve fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive attributes. The research is being conducted as a Ford-UM Alliance Project.
The press release quotes Opila as saying, “The main goal of this project is to bring advanced methods to HEV and plug-in HEV design. Most academic control methods work well in simulation but do not incorporate the many constraints required for a production car. By developing a controller design method that can incorporate many different goals for vehicle behavior, state-of-the-art optimal control methods can be used to develop real cars that consumers want. My work attempts to bridge the gap between theoretical proofs and the practical requirements of engineers designing the hybrids of tomorrow.”