Agile and Virtual

The Advisory Board members of the Berlin Powertrain Symposiums on approaches in powertrain development

On November 30 and December 1, 2017, representatives fromOEMs, suppliers and politics will be meeting at IAV’s Berlin Powertrain Symposium to discuss tomorrow’s drive concepts. In a short survey conducted by Johannes Winterhagen on behalf of automotion, the Advisory Board members of the Berlin Powertrain Symposium talk about the challenges being faced in powertrain developments and the approaches they are taking.

“The entire powertrain is embedded in an environment that has never been as complex. Advancing the development of combustion engine, e-motor and transmission can no longer be considered in isolation”, says conference director Matthias Kratzsch, Executive Vice President for Powertrain Systems Development at IAV. “How will engines and transmissions be designed in future? And what does the growing complexity mean for development processes?” Agile development, control systems covering engine and transmission and virtual testing procedures are just some of the processes that are currently being tried out in the automotive industry. The heads of powertrain and engine development at Audi, BMW, Daimler, MAN, Porsche and VW as well as Professor Göhlich from Berlin University of Technology – all members of the Powertrain Symposium’s Advisory Board – report on their approaches to the challenges involved in powertrain development.

AUDI AG

Josef Bast, Head of Powertrain Electronics

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

We see the biggest challenge in integrating all of the requisite powertrain variants into tomorrow’s electronics architecture with all of the functions and services that will be needed.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

It will only be possible to cope with the growing complexity on the basis of a well-structured development process with clear functional demands and neatly defined interfaces. Powertrain and vehicle functions as well the services offered must also be tested and validated in a complete simulation environment that is available at an early project phase.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

The development process of the future must not only take account of the vehicle itself but also give consideration to integrating the vehicle into its driving environment.

BMW AG

Prof. Dr. Christian Schwarz, Head of Advance Gasoline Engine Development
Dr. Christian Landerl, Head of Gasoline Engine Development

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

As a company with operations spanning the globe, we comply with emission laws and fuel consumption regulations in all regions of the world. This presents a challenge insofar as legislation, particularly in the European Union and China, is developing at a rapid pace. In some cases, this produces significant differences in the framework conditions underlying the various local markets. BMW is responding to this with a variety of drive system types which, however, still largely need to be covered on the basis of existing investment in production facilities.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

On the one hand, this will mean using existing modules for engines, transmissions and electric drive systems within a specific drive architecture. On the other hand, drive systems must be integrated into the different vehicle architectures.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

To validate the wide range of drive system variants, we feel development processes must be virtualized to a greater extent. This is something BMW is working on as part of a virtualization drive we have already launched. BMW has been including the driving behavior of “normal” consumers into its validation processes for many years – a trend that is set to become more pronounced in the
future.

Daimler AG

Peter Lückert, Head of Diesel Engines, Powertrain and Injection
Dr. Norbert Merdes, Head of Powertrain Electronics

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

Daimler AG is not only a vehicle manufacturer but primarily a provider of mobility. Developing our drive systems, the focus is on providing the greatest possible benefit to the customer, top safety standards and maximum efficiency as well as environmental compatibility. We have a clearly defined strategy for advancing combustion engines and developing electric drives to the level of manufacturing readiness. We are open to any potential technology that can help to improve the efficiency of our drive systems.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

We have deliberately not opted for one drive type but for customized solutions. This will let us cover all customer needs in the future too. Not least with an eye on our very broad lineup of vehicles ranging from smart city runabout to truck: besides all-electric vehicles with battery or fuel cell, we are also continuing to drive forward our plug-in hybrid campaign. We are also continuing to optimize our combustion engines. Integrating 48-volt systems in combination with starter generators, all Mercedes-Benz model ranges are on the way to becoming electrified.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

Complexity in the drive system world demands scalable solutions, also on the development side. With the Central Powertrain Controller (CPC), for example, we now have a central powertrain control unit that covers the torque structure, operating strategy and energy management from conventional drive and partial electrification with 48-V systems to high-voltage systems for our plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. In terms of powertrain electronics, we are developing more and more of our in-house software on an agile basis. This gives us the flexibility that lets us promptly respond to changing boundary conditions and continue to deliver values to our customers – internally and externally. Validation and calibration, particularly in the early phase of the development process, are increasingly going fully digital.

MAN Truck & Bus AG

Max Löffler, Head of Projects and Services in Electrics/Electronics Development

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

In tomorrow’s commercial vehicles, we will be installing both conventional combustion engines as well as alternative concepts, such as hybrid and battery electric drives, in combination with various transmission versions. This will significantly increase the number of possible powertrain concepts and resultant complexity. A further challenges lies in choosing and realizing the right solution from all possible concepts for a particular application that provides the best possible cost-benefit ratio. To keep the development times and costs as low as possible, the number of variants to be developed must be kept low. Last, but not least, it will be necessary to ensure a constantly high powertrain quality in spite of using the new technologies.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

From MAN’s perspective, we try to overcome the complexity by using a modular function architecture; this architecture encompasses the vehicle’s entire longitudinal dynamics control system. Customer and strategy functions will be centralized and implemented irrespective of the power unit. This will make the power unit an intelligent actuator which, for example, realizes an engine speed/torque request but no longer computes such itself. This means it will be relatively easy to replace one power unit with another without far-reaching intervention in the overriding function. Besides this, we will only use a few basic hardware modules in the commercial vehicle. The variance needed in the powertrain will be generated by means of comprehensive software parameterization at the end of the line.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

In future, powertrain engineering will involve a mixture of V model and agile development methods. Today’s practice of providing functional behavior solely on the basis of maps and parameters will no longer be a reasonable option on account of the growing complexity. This situation can be remedied by using more model-based approaches. Our experience shows that this can reduce calibration work by up to 50 percent.

Porsche AG

Martin Kerkau, Head of Engine Electronics

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

The development of future vehicle drive systems will become more multifaceted and more complex. On the one hand, developing electric drives is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions but there is also a need to continue advancing conventional drive systems. At the same time, it may also be worthwhile giving consideration to gaseous fuel drives. In developing alternative drive systems, allowance must also be made for the infrastructure and customer acceptance (traveling range). On the other hand, the complexity of drive systems, particularly with hybrid drives, has increased. The growing extent to which functions are interconnected is of huge significance in this context. This means that development cannot merely focus on individual components but must instead embrace the entire drive system from the early development phase to SOP.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

To begin with, a type of organization is important in which system responsibility is practiced. Tools for developing the system are also of pivotal importance. These include digital development methods, such as interconnected hardware-in-the-loop test facilities, as well as drive system test benches.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

To overcome the complexity and be sure of meeting the tighter legislation, it will be necessary to shift development activities into the early phase. Particularly in the early phase, a hardware-in-the-loop test bench will be necessary for developing functions in terms of the interaction between engine and transmission, but also in respect of the interfaces to the overall vehicle. In the subsequent phase, the drive system test bench will be used for testing and developing the functions on the hardware before using the powertrain in the vehicle.

Berlin University of Technology

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Göhlich, Head of the Methods of Product Development and Mechatronics Department

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

As there will be many drive system topologies in the future, each option also has its specific challenges. What is clear though is that as far as combustion engines are concerned – whether with or without hybridization – the future will not only be about foreseeable CO2 targets but, increasingly, about further reducing pollutant emissions in real-world driving. As far as the electrified drives are concerned, the focus will not only be on improving battery technology but, in particular, on innovative charging technologies (quick charging, inductive charging). In the context of autonomous driving, for example, vehicle idle times (particularly in the urban environment) can in future become “charging times” and the (expensive) charging infrastructure can be used more efficiently.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

By advancing existing module concepts, internal diversity can, to a certain extent, be decoupled from external diversity. Nevertheless, a number of low-volume models will probably have to be discontinued. And it will be about further improving the efficiency of development processes as a means of using the same capacities to develop the various drive systems in high quality.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

The “digital twin” has by no means permeated all possible development domains. I am also not only expecting to see artificial intelligence based on (self-learning) digital neural networks bring fundamental change to tomorrow’s products but also to tomorrow’s processes. There is optimization potential here we cannot even begin to estimate today.

Volkswagen AG

Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, Head of Gasoline Engine Development

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

Gearing the entire product portfolio to the new framework of EU6 legislation is currently taking up huge swathes of capacity within development activities. Implementing the RDE framework as well as the new WLTP driving cycle will be a particularly “tall order”. Besides this, however, the long-term focus remains on the target of continuing to reduce CO2. New engine concepts, increasing electrification and using alternative and regenerative fuels will leverage further potential.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

Growing complexity and ever-shorter product life cycles will demand the use of the very latest methods and processes in everyday development routine. Focusing on core competencies and working efficiently with the best development service providers will let us match our products to ever-rapidly changing consumer needs in good time.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

In future we will develop and test much more on a virtual basis. This will make us faster and more efficient. Help will come, for example, from our Virtual Engineering Labs which, in the meantime at six locations worldwide, enable our engineers to work with each other across continents at one and the same time. Our development service providers will also play a bigger part here in the future.

 

Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of Group Research

Where do you see the biggest challenge in developing tomorrow’s vehicle drive systems?

The growing range of drive technology and drive concepts, from combustion engine and hybrid drive systems to battery and fuel cell electric drives, is making it necessary to concentrate on market and consumer-specific solutions at the right time. Hybridized powertrains will be under considerable cost pressure not only from the aspect of providing our customers with affordable mobility but also from that of being able to reliably meet extremely tight emission regulations in the light of yet higher efficiency and under extended RDE conditions. This also applies in the same way to all-electric powertrains.

Diversity in tomorrow’s drive systems is increasing. How will it be possible to cope with the resultant level of complexity?

Costs and complexity can only be kept under control by forming drive component modules and concentrating on a few vehicle platforms and, if necessary, by leaving out the last optimization of direct costs to the advantage of total costs in the volume segment. Besides this, methods must be used or also developed that make it possible to carry over at least parts of the requisite functionalities automatically, develop them automatically or realize them using models.

How will tomorrow’s development process differ from today’s tried and proven methods?

Far more virtual methods will be used in product development (computation, simulation, automated optimization, model-based and even real-time functionalities) to overcome the complexity. However, the work involved in testing is still expected to rise, in particular for hybridized powertrains. Digitization and big data will have a pronounced influence on the methods of software development and permit updates in shorter intervals but also repercussions on the methods of hardware development. New forms of cooperation, such as the agile development methodology, will help to keep the input curve under control despite the increasing complexity and dynamic.