The electrical and electronic control systems associated with modern vehicles are characterised by a series of networked propriety solutions. Individual control units interact with one another in order to deliver the required functions of the vehicle. The traditional model within the automotive industry is for the vehicle manufacturer to outsource the development of a complete system to a supplier. This activity may include both the development of the controller functionality and its subsequent software implementation. The manufacturer then primarily acts as the systems integrator for the vehicle. The high levels of system complexity and interconnectivity found in today’s automotive applications brings into doubt the long-term viability of this strategy.
Software-intensive electronic control systems are widely seen as the enabling technology for a number of the safety, driver assistance, infotainment and powertrain features of new vehicles. However, within the automotive sector, there are strong commercial drivers to re-use and extend existing software-based legacy systems. This fact, coupled with the traditional mechanically-orientated view of the design and verification processes still adopted by many vehicle manufacturers in which their internal structure reflects the major vehicle domains, leads to the hardware and software design elements of the same system often being undertaken in a highly decoupled manner.
This development approach has resulted in the creation of unnecessarily complex automotive systems in which maintainability and extendibility are a significant challenge. The increasing demand for mechatronics and vehicle electrification, including the introduction of hybrid powertrains, requires the reunification of these decoupled engineering activities. Automotive mechatronics addresses these challenges by naturally changing the current mechanically-oriented view of the vehicle to a unified mechatronic system view. Within a mechatronics approach, the electromechanical systems, including their control algorithms and software implementation, are designed as a single unit. Vehicle control options are investigated concurrently and are deemed to be an inherent part of the hardware and overall system design.
Papers are invited that can demonstrate the innovative application of automotive mechatronic design methods and principles. Topics of interest include, but are not restricted to, the application of:
- New mechatronic design processes for improved automotive system design
- Advanced vehicle control and multidisciplinary modelling to support the design of novel automotive mechatronic systems
- Novel analysis methods for improved non-functional attributes of mechatronic systems, such as reliability, safety, robustness and extendibility
- New methods for managing and reducing system complexity within automotive mechatronic design
Manuscript Submission Deadline: 31 March 2011
Reviewers' Reports and Decisions: 31 July 2011
Revised Manuscript Submission: 31 October 2011