As winter is drawing to an end and flower blossom brings a welcome prelude to the spring, the realization of the DUT15 car is proceeding at full speed. While fabrication is currently well under way, we sit with Tim Steunebrink and Erwin Allebes from the Electronics department. With them, we will reflect on this year’s developments in vehicle electronics, and their role within the team.
It comes as no surprise that Tim and Erwin joined FS Team Delft. “Last year, we worked on a joint project together with Efraïm [current Chief Electronics] at our faculty. During project meetings, we would somehow always end up talking more about FS Team Delft, than about the project that we were actually working on,” Erwin tells us jokingly. “For me, the moment I really wanted to join occurred when I saw the DUT13 drive by; a moment I still remember vividly. That was when I realized how cool FS Team really is. This wasn’t just any car, this was something special. It was really impressive to see,” Tim adds. With the start of their third Bachelor year at the faculty of Electrical Engineering, the decision to complete their required minor at FS Team Delft was quickly made. Although they now have completed the obligatory minor, both Tim and Erwin continue to devote full-time participation to the project.
For the DUT15, Tim was responsible for the development of the hardware for the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Even though the ECU might not be so visible to the casual passer-by, it is of paramount importance to the car’s performance. The ECU functions as the central nervous system of the vehicle, processing all relevant signals and determining the required output. Erwin has developed the safety system and hardware for the Accumulator Management System (AMS). Since the DUT15 is an electric car, utilizing high voltage systems and lithium-ion polymer batteries, the AMS is essential to guarantee a safe driver environment. While the AMS and ECU might not have the exotic allure as various exterior carbon fiber components, they play a key role in allowing for superior, reliable and safe performance of the car.
Admitting the electronics of the DUT15 are largely based on those of the DUT14, Tim and Erwin are keen to point out the differences compared to the predecessor. For the ECU, the DUT15 will feature a new telemetry system that utilizes wireless sensors. This makes it possible to freely place sensors, while reducing the amount of sensor wires, vastly increasing simplicity. Another milestone in reducing complexity has been the use of combined functionality of the ECU and AMS systems. In the past, these devices used different components, for example separate microcontrollers. By combining functionality and using modular, interchangeable components, the complex electronic system of the DUT15 was simplified radically.