Behavior analysis, testing, and control of connected powertrains for V2X


February 26, 2021

In modern vehicles, powertrain design and control, traffic flow, energy demand, and emissions strongly influence each other. Along the way, control algorithms will leverage information from vehicle environment enabled by new communication technologies. In March 2021, IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine published the article “Toward Smart Vehicle-to-Everything-Connected Powertrains: Driving Real Component Test Benches in a Fully Interactive Virtual Smart City.” The paper demonstrates a holistic methodology for the research and development of smart connected powertrains by combining different development domains. They constructed an X-in-the-loop validation platform that builds upon vehicular networking, road traffic, and a vehicle simulator, coupled with two real drive-unit component test benches. The authors also implemented predictive control strategies using the information provided by the networking simulation via V2X communication in the paper. The control strategy was shown to achieve a reduction in vehicle acceleration successfully. Consequently, the active operation area of the electric machine (EM) is reduced, which indicates that powertrain components can also be resized. Another possible application is analyzing the impact that the predictively controlled ego vehicle has on the overall traffic flow in the coupled traffic simulation environment.

Such demonstrations also open up opportunities for a wide range of investigations using the proposed methodology. For example, the platform could be exploited for physical behavior analysis that can be modeled only with extensive effort, such as electric motors’ thermal behavior using this holistic X-in-the-loop platform. From a security point of view, behavior analysis of connected powertrains is equally important as they will always be an attractive target for attackers to cause safety hazards. Last year, a research report revealed 19 vulnerabilities in Mercedes E-class vehicles. Researchers at the Sky-Go Team described how an attack chain could be formed, leading to remote control of the vehicle. The team tampered with the vehicle’s Telematics control unit (TCU) that enables the vehicle to communicate over the internet. Such findings depict that cybersecurity for connected vehicles demands more carefully tailored research platforms and considerations for protecting commercial and consumer markets. More importantly, dedicated research is required to facilitate component behavior analysis and controlled service testing with similar X-in-the-loop platforms as described in this paper.   

Written by Nishat Mowla 

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