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Former EcoCAR Members Join dSPACE Engineering Team

June 2015: EcoCAR Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions provide an ideal training ground for preparing future engineers for careers in the mobility industry. During the course of this intense, four-year competition, students are given the opportunity to re-engineer a vehicle, integrating different vehicle powertrains and alternative fuels, to make it more environmentally friendly.

Students work closely with industry mentors, faculty advisors and other students and gain experience in a wide range of vehicle technology areas, including: research and development, analysis, and validation of vehicle designs.

dSPACE, a leadership sponsor of EcoCAR, is proud to have the following former EcoCAR team participants working within its Engineering Department.

Chris Manning

Former EcoCAR 2 team member Chris Manning, a Virginia Tech graduate, joined dSPACE in September 2014 in the position of hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) applications engineer for the Aerospace / Defense group. In this role, he is responsible for developing models for HIL simulation systems, testing the systems post production and testing new hardware. He also performs onsite commissioning to help get customers get their systems up and running.

“I have enjoyed my time at dSPACE very much so far,” Chris said. “The team and management here are always helpful and I have gotten to experience some really interesting technologies.”

While a student at Virginia Tech, Chris served on the EcoCAR 2 team for three years. His main area of focus was on vehicle controls and software development for the team’s hybrid vehicle supervisory controller.
“We did everything from control code development to vehicle model development to signal wiring within the vehicle,” Chris said. “We also did a lot of component testing outside the vehicle to ensure that our controls would work on small portions of the vehicle before testing it on the entire car.”

Through the experience he gained in EcoCAR 2, Chris became familiar with dSPACE specific hardware and software that helped him adjust to the job at dSPACE. He also learned a lot of other skills, such as troubleshooting, time management, and teamwork.

Ren Fang

Former EcoCAR 2 participant and California State University (Cal State) graduate Ren Fang joined the dSPACE Engineering Team in April 2014. He is currently working as an applications engineer, supporting various dSPACE customers in software-related hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) activities. This includes test automation, plant modeling, using dSPACE tools to meet customer requirements, and on-site engineering support for customer-specific projects.

“I believe that dSPACE is a company that is on the forefront of hardware-in-the-loop simulation technology, and I truly enjoy coming to work each day,” said Ren. “I think the opportunity that dSPACE offers its employees to work with a great multitude of OEMs across various industries (automotive, aerospace, off-highway, etc.) is unparalleled elsewhere.”

While attending Cal State, Ren became heavily involved in EcoCAR 2, contributing to both the electrical team and the controls team. On the electrical team, he oversaw all aspects of the vehicle high-voltage electrical system, low-voltage electrical system, and bus communication. On the controls team, he was directly responsible for all aspects of the vehicle supervisory controller and plant modeling activities.

“EcoCAR introduced me to the world of automotive engineering and engineering simulation,” Ren said. “It gave me invaluable hands-on experience with various software and hardware tools used widely in industry today.”

Jonathan Moore

While attending Mississippi State University, Jonathan Moore became an active member of the EcoCAR 2 Team, serving as a group leader for both the electrical and the controls teams. He joined the dSPACE Engineering Team in August 2013 and is currently working as a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) applications engineer. In this role, his primary responsibilities are test automation / test development. He also manages a wide range of tasks including software, hardware stimulus testing, and HIL system commissioning at various customer locations.

“dSPACE provides me the opportunity to work with a variety of customers using dSPACE HIL systems for component and system testing and development,” Jonathan said. “I’m currently working on a latch testing assembly project for an OEM, for which I developed some software for use with dSPACE AutomationDesk.”

While serving on his university’s EcoCAR 2 team, Jonathan managed all work activities associated with high- and low-voltage systems. He also worked on tasks in the areas of vehicle controls development and infotainment system and modeling / simulation development.

“The experience I gained in EcoCAR working with dSPACE MicroAutoBox, RapidPro, and HIL systems, as well as vehicle components, prepared me extremely well for my current job at dSPACE,” Jonathan said. “The same design and troubleshooting skills I developed in EcoCAR continue to help me on my current projects here at dSPACE, and my exposure to many different automotive ECUs and systems provides me good experience to draw upon when I am working with various dSPACE automotive customers.”

Kunal Patil

Former EcoCAR team member Kunal Patil is a senior applications engineer for dSPACE. His work involves real-time modeling of automotive systems, including hybrid/e-drive applications for use in the development and testing of electronic control units (ECUs). He is also involved in developing and applying dSPACE hardware-in-the-loop simulation technology to test processes.

While studying for a M.S. degree at Texas Tech University, Kunal got the opportunity to become involved in EcoCAR. As a former controls lead for his team, he was involved in the entire vehicle development process for over three years. His strong research interest in hybrid vehicles motivated him to pursue a PhD, which he received in 2012.

“I believe that competition involvement was the key to getting into dSPACE,” Kunal said. “In EcoCAR, I was responsible for developing math-based models, lab-based tests with HIL, and in-vehicle testing. At dSPACE, I am working on a similar V-cycle approach, which incorporates offline model development to HIL testing at the end of development cycle.”

Where Are They Now?

Former EcoCAR participant and dSPACE employee Vincent Sabatini is now working for General Motors.

Former EcoCAR participant and dSPACE employee Abhijit Bansal is now working for Tula Technologies.

Former EcoCAR participant and dSPACE employee Zhenhua Zhu is now working for General Motors.