Hexagon Studio was founded in 2005 with a vision to provide design and engineering services implementing turnkey solutions primarily in the automotive sector. The Hexagon Studio facility has been registered as an “R&D Center” by Ministry of Industry and Technology (Turkey) since 2011. A primary focus is electric vehicle integration and control software applications.
Dana’s OpenECU platform has been used in a range of EV/HEV projects and is currently in use by Hexagon Studio in several capacities. Erinc Topdemir – Technical Lead Engineer, R&D Center, Hexagon Studio shared reasons why they like using OpenECU:
- Fast Development – the same OpenECU module that is used for development can be put into volume production.
- No NRE (Non-Recurring Engineering) investment required to get proven cost-effective ISO 26262 ASIL D level production-quality VCUs (Vehicle Control Units).
- OpenECU is easy to use and has a proven software tool chain with a truly open Simulink® application-independent model-based development environment.
- Intellectual Property (IP) Ownership – by using OpenECU, Hexagon Studio has full control over all application IP developed and can make updates as required.
- Customization – Dana can customize the OpenECU hardware to provide the exact Inputs and Outputs (I/O) Hexagon needs to meet the application requirements.
- Engineering Support – Dana provides very responsive engineering support.
Vehicle Projects using OpenECU
Hexagon Studio’s Product Development System was used as a basis for systems engineering and requirement management in the following projects:
Wheelchair accessible taxi
The M250 OpenECU was used in a plug-in-hybrid taxi vehicle project as a vehicle controller. Dana supplied an EV & HEV control strategy including sample application and a generic requirement list for this program. By leveraging the Dana vehicle control strategies, Hexagon Studio was able to quickly develop a prototype vehicle. Torque, energy and thermal management strategies were added to provide control for features such as charging, discharging and regenerative braking.
EV Low-floor minibus
Hexagon Studio has used both the M670 OpenECU, and the M560 OpenECU for a low-floor minibus. The minibus is used as a public transport vehicle with an integrated wheelchair ramp for both the North American and the European markets. With the know-how and experience gained from previous projects, Hexagon Studio developed their own control algorithms based on customer requirements. The range extender control algorithm was developed to meet emissions requirements and has separate charge/range sustaining modes. The project evolved into a full EV by request of the customer in later stages.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Work Truck
The M670 OpenECU was used as the vehicle controller for the PHEV work truck. The PHEV with a 2-cylinder range extender was specifically designed to meet stringent work truck requirements to serve as a last mile package delivery vehicle for the North American market. This vehicle has both 2WD and 4WD options, and two body lengths. Hexagon Studio delivered multiple prototypes to the customer for durability testing and real-life delivery operations. This program also evolved into a pure EV and is now being prepared for production launch.
EV Three-wheeler cargo and passenger vehicle
The M110 OpenECU is used for the three-wheeler vehicle controller design. The 48V design includes special component selection and control. This vehicle is targeting last mile urban delivery applications where zero emissions and quiet operating performance are needed. Hexagon Studio leveraged EV control strategies developed on other programs to implement an optimized subset of strategies appropriate for this 3-wheel application.
35-foot EV Bus
M580 OpenECU is used in this full EV bus development. This project is based on a 650V architecture to enable the usage of readily available HV (High Voltage) components. Dana OpenECU modules are used for both VCU (Vehicle Control Unit) and as a gateway unit for combining components and supervising their controllers.
For all these projects, Hexagon Studio was responsible for implementing algorithms for vehicle traction, thermal management, charging control, energy management and component controls including traction inverters, DC/DC converters, and HV batteries. Electric vehicle Control Strategies were developed in Matlab/Simulink and validated with PIL (Processor-in-the-Loop) and HIL (Hardware-in-the-Loop) tests before starting the final validation on the prototype vehicles.
Some special features were designed and implemented for differing customer expectations and vehicle usage scenarios. The following solutions are offered depending on the customer’s requirements.
All of the Dana modules mentioned above have been used in testing vehicle control applications with a HIL device. Hexagon Studio is also capable of designing and incorporating into the HIL any kind of vehicle dynamic and all the main vehicle components. Performance and energy management calculations, functional tests, reliability checks and even design validation and durability tests are done with the help of these configurations. HIL testing at Hexagon Studios can use any of the Dana products covering all application types, vehicle types, and component functions.
Regardless of the hardware and project, fault diagnostics are also developed with OpenECU libraries. UDS, ISO-TP and ISO diagnostic algorithms are developed and integrated into the main control algorithm.