Ohio State partners with Delphi Technologies on NEXTCAR project

Posted: July 19, 2018

The Ohio State University, along with Tula TechnologyAptiv and Transportation Research Center (TRC), is partnering with Delphi Technologies to enhance connected vehicle innovations that will make cars greener with the ultimate goal of achieving a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy over the vehicles currently found on the road.

NEXTCAR vehicle
The NEXTCAR vehicle at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.

This program, titled NEXTCAR (NEXT-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles) is led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Ohio State project leaders include Engineering professors Giorgio Rizzoni, Levent Guvenc, Marcello Canova and Abhishek Gupta and research scientist Greg Busch.

The three-year project will integrate many advanced technologies into a single vehicle platform.  These include connectivity features such as vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to enable the vehicle to sail through traffic lights on green, eHorizon to provide knowledge of upcoming road conditions, and Adaptive Cruise Control to allow the vehicle to automatically adjust its speed.

Two advanced powertrain technologies will also be incorporated to save even more fuel:  Delphi’s 48V mild hybrid system and Tula’s Dynamic Skip Fire Technology.  The mild hybrid system provides regeneration capability and increased low-end torque, while  Dynamic Skip Fire selectively turn off engine cylinders when the engine is operating at light loads to save on fuel and emissions. With this combination of capabilities, the vehicle will be able to analyze its route ahead of time to determine the most efficient path, speed, and engine operating conditions for maximum fuel economy.

One major challenge the project faced at the outset was comparing the fuel economy of the advanced NEXTCAR vehicle to that of a baseline car. Conventional techniques require the two vehicles to be driven at identical speeds over a given route. However, the purpose of NEXTCAR is to determine the best speed to drive to maximize fuel economy; therefore two vehicles must drive at different speeds during the fuel economy evaluation process. Ohio State collaborated with TRC to develop new test procedures for making fuel economy comparisons with these types of advanced technology vehicles.

The NEXTCAR project is utilizing the Smart City initiatives taking place in Columbus, OH.  Columbus is creating and deploying new technologies to increase mobility and make for a greener environment and NEXTCAR will have the opportunity to utilize these developments.