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Cloud integration for electric cars

Adding functionality through apps, optimizing workshop services, and creating range forecasts for electric vehicles: FEV and its partners have targeted these and other goals in the Oscar project.

The car as a mobile sensor and multimedia platform (Photo: FEV)

THE GOAL OF THE OSCAR (OPEN SERVICE CLOUD FOR THE SMART CAR) project is to integrate the electric vehicle into a cloud structure by building a modular information structure and communication technology (ICT). FEV's iCU (intelligent connection unit) development platform is integrated into the vehicle and has access to the data stream of the vehicle's onboard network. The data collected via CAN and a GPS system can be sent to the cloud via a UMTS interface from the vehicle. In addition, they can be received again by the sending vehicle or other connected vehicles after a service-oriented analysis in the cloud. This creates a bi-directional communication path.

The project has developed modular information and communication technology structures to integrate vehicles provided by FEV and Street Scooter into a cloud. "Continuous data exchange between the cloud and the vehicle allows the collection and processing of vehicle parameters," explains Professor Stefan Pischinger, President and CEO of FEV.

Private users benefit from features like accurate range determination, information on traffic slow-downs or potentially critical traffic situations, as well as localized climatic conditions. The cloud connection also offers benefits for fleet operators: "Digital data can offer information on position, operating state and battery state for fleet management” explains FEV’s Professor Günter Feyerl, “In addition, they allow preliminary diagnoses and an improved coordination of maintenance schedules."

Data formats can be adapted to various project and server requirements via the iCU. With only one vehicle, a variety of different OEM vehicles can be simulated or, alternatively, the data formats of various vehicles can be translated into the same cloud data structure. The cloud vehicle connection allows for other future services such as the installation of specific vehicle apps or the use of conventional apps for mobile devices. This is made possible by the iCU. The data can be accessed on commercial smartphones or tablets directly in the vehicle via Bluetooth or local WLAN.

The car as a mobile sensor and multimedia platform (Photo: FEV)

To send the right data to the correct addresses in the cloud structure, an FEV-developed AES (automotive embedded service) server collects the transmitted vehicle data and decides according to defined filtering rules which information from the vehicle should be forwarded to particular addresses. "Within the framework of the Oscar project, we developed a new, open and manufacturer-independent ICT architecture for electric vehicles and have intensively tested it in the Aachen region under real life scenarios," explains FEV’s Dr. Stefan Müller-Schneiders. The project partners also established a DIN Spec (91324), a data set for an open service cloud, which can be used for OEM and third party services.

Data for drivers and fleet operators

Vehicle users can retrieve current vehicle data as well as statistics for their own usage history through the combination of cloud data and apps that are operated via the vehicle display. As a result, drivers can plan their route continuously, based on traffic information, the reach area, and altitude. In addition to real time data such as battery state and energy consumption of various systems, data comparison with the cloud data allows the optimization of one's own driving behavior. Driving profile and fuel consumption for different drivers can be compared and optimization potentials can be identified.

Fleet operators benefit from the improved diagnostic capabilities of their electric vehicles: The operator not only gains insight into vehicle parameters such as position, operating condition,n and battery or charging state; error codes too can be read via the cloud. Safe and limited access to such sensitive data improves the coordination options for maintenance schedules and allows for preliminary diagnosis by authorized parties.

Transfer of the modular design principle

The Oscar project is subsidized by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. It is led by a consortium of FEV, Forschungsinstitut für Rationalisierung - RWTH Aachen, Fritz Dräxlmaier, Hans Hess Autoteile, QSC, Regio IT Gesellschaft für Informationstechnologie, SE Software Engineering – Technical University of Aachen, and Street Scooter. The advisory board consists of OEMs and suppliers, e.g. from Continental, PSI, Kirchhoff Automotive, TRW Automotive und the German Aerospace Centre. The goal of the project is to transfer the Aachen modular design principle for electric vehicles to the information and communications technology as well as the electrics and electronics architecture.

The FEV Group with headquarters in Aachen, Germany, is a development service provider for drive and vehicle technologies. The company offers its global transport industry customers a range of engineering services, providing support in the design, analysis and prototyping for powertrain and transmission development.

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