DOE awards NEXTCAR project as part of ARPA-E
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it is honoring additional commitments to 10 previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees for a total of $20 million (U.S.). These projects are part of an evaluation process that has worked to ensure best practices and good governance principles are applied consistently with the new U.S. presidential administration’s policy directives.
Among the recipients is Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR). Specifically, a project headed up by a team at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, TX, Model Predictive Control for Energy-Efficient Maneuvering of Connected Autonomous Vehicles Equipped with 12V Micro-Hybrid Engine Technology, is to receive $2.9 million of the $20 million awarded by the DOE. NEXTCAR projects will take advantage of the increasingly complex and connected systems in today’s—and tomorrow’s—cars and trucks to drastically improve their energy efficiency, with a goal of reducing individual vehicle energy usage by 20%.
The three-year project calls for the team to develop optimal control algorithms that leverage vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and other vehicle-to- everything (V2X) technologies to simultaneously optimize the vehicle’s route, speed profile, and power flows from the hybrid system. These developments could help define future powertrain performance requirements and enable more efficient control of the powertrain and vehicle dynamics. SwRI will demonstrate these technologies using a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), Toyota’s 2017 Prius Prime.
“This is an important research step in furthering the development of powertrains for connected and automated vehicles,” said Scott Hotz, an assistant director in SwRI’s Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division. “Our team’s collective expertise in vehicle powertrain development and connected and automated vehicle technologies will help optimize vehicle efficiency.”