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Technical Paper

Estimation of Excavator Manipulator Position Using Neural Network-Based Vision System

Abstract A neural network-based computer vision system is developed to estimate position of an excavator manipulator in real time. A camera is used to capture images of a manipulator, and the images are down-sampled and used to train a neural network. Then, the trained neural network can estimate the position of the excavator manipulator in real time. To study the feasibility of the proposed system, a webcam is used to capture images of an excavator simulation model and the captured images are used to train a neural network. The simulation results show that the developed neural network-based computer vision system can estimate the position of the excavator manipulator with an acceptable accuracy.
Technical Paper

Continued Development of a High-Fidelity 1D Physics-Based Engine Simulation model in MATLAB/Simulink

Abstract Engine and drivetrain simulation has become an integral part of the automotive industry. By creating a virtual representation of a physical system, engineers can design controllers and optimize components without producing a prototype, thus reducing design costs. Among the numerous simulation approaches, 1D physics-based models are frequently implemented due to balanced performance between accuracy and computational speed. Several 1D physics-based simulation software packages currently exist but cannot be directly implemented in MALAB/Simulink. To leverage MATLAB/Simulink's powerful controller design and simulation capabilities, a 1D physics-based engine simulation tool is currently being developed at The University of Alabama. Previously presented work allowed the user to connect engine components in a physically representative manner within the Simulink environment using a standard block connection scheme and embedded MATLAB functions.
Technical Paper

Swing Energy Recuperation Scheme for Hydraulic Excavators

Abstract Due to the high demand of fuel efficient construction equipment, significant research effort has been dedicated to improving excavator efficiency. Among various possibilities, methods to recuperate energy during cab swing motion have been widely examined. Electric and hydraulic hybrids designs have shown to greatly improve fuel efficiency but require drastic design changes. The redesigned systems thus require many hours of operation to offset the manufacturing costs with fuel savings. In this research, a relatively simple swing energy recuperation system is presented using an additional accumulator, fixed displacement hydraulic motor, and control valves. With the system, hydraulic fluid is stored in an accumulator, and a simple controller opens a valve to allow the stored energy to assist the engine in running the main pumps.
Technical Paper

Automated Grading Operation for Hydraulic Excavators

Abstract Hydraulic excavators perform numerous tasks in the construction and mining industry. Although ground grading is a common task, proper grading cannot easily be achieved. Grading requires an experienced operator to control the boom, arm, and bucket cylinders in a rapid and coordinated manner. Due to this reason, automated grade control is being considered as an effective alternative to conventional human-operated ground grading. In this paper, a path-planning method based on a 2D kinematic model and inverse kinematics is used to determine the desired trajectory of an excavator's boom, arm, and bucket cylinders. Then, the developed path planning method and PI control algorithms for the three cylinders are verified by a simple excavator model developed in Simulink®. The simulation results show that the automated grade control algorithm can grade level or with reduced operation time and error.
Technical Paper

Development of a High-Fidelity 1D Physics-Based Engine Simulation model in MATLAB/Simulink

Abstract Currently, several 1D physics-based high-fidelity engine simulation software packages exist and provide reasonably accurate predictions of engine performance. However, most of the current high-fidelity engine simulation packages are developed in conventional programming languages and cannot be directly implemented in today's predominant MATLAB/Simulink simulation environment. In an effort to develop a MATLAB/Simulink-based engine simulation package, a high-fidelity 1D physics-based engine simulation model is currently being developed at The University of Alabama. The proposed model library includes various functional blocks capable of being connected in a logical manner to form a full engine system. Some of the functional blocks include a 1D unsteady flow section, cylinder valve, throttle, flow junction, cylinder, and engine dynamics. In this paper, preliminary simulation results are presented as well as descriptions of the functional blocks.
Technical Paper

An Optimal Powertrain Control Strategy for a Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle

As a viable alternative to the conventional hybrid electric vehicles, so called “mild” hybrid drivetrains are currently being implemented in production vehicles. These mild hybrid electric vehicles use an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) to simply assist the internal combustion (IC) engine rather than drive the vehicle independently of the IC engine. Some of the production mild hybrid vehicles have been shown to achieve over a10 % increase in fuel efficiency with minimal additional costs. In this paper, we present a lookup table-based control scheme for the optimal control of the ISG and the IC engine on a mild hybrid vehicle. The developed control logic is implemented in Matlab/Simulink along with a mild hybrid vehicle model, which is based on an EPA light-duty vehicle model. The simulation results show that the optimally controlled mild hybrid vehicle has better fuel efficiency with comparable drivability when compared to a simple intuitive rule-based control strategy.
Journal Article

Co-Simulation of Multiple Software Packages for Model Based Control Development and Full Vehicle System Evaluation

Recent advancements in simulation software and computational hardware make it realizable to simulate a full vehicle system comprised of multiple sub-models developed in different modeling languages. The so-called, co-simulation allows one to develop a control strategy and evaluate various aspects of a vehicle system, such as fuel efficiency and vehicle drivability, in a cost-effective manner. In order to study the feasibility of the synchronized parallel processing in co-simulation this paper presents two co-simulation frameworks for a complete vehicle system with multiple heterogeneous subsystem models. In the first approach, subsystem models are co-simulated in a serial configuration, and the same sub-models are co-simulated in a parallel configuration in the second approach.