MathWorks uses a Kvaser Blackbird for race car telemetry

1 week ago by Vanessa Knivett

Christoph Hahn and Jose Avendano Arbelaez, technical education specialists for MathWorks, created a remote-control race car demo to show engineering students at this year’s Formula Student events how to use model-based design to accelerate system development and implementation.

Christoph and Jose used MathWorks’ Vehicle Network Toolbox™ (VNT), a CAN hardware support toolbox, to implement a CAN network and connect to vehicle dynamics controllers that had been previously designed and validated within Simulink, MathWorks’ eponymous simulation environment. In this case, the VNT was used to acquire CAN data for use in simulations, prototype and test.

Kvaser’s BlackBird v2 was attached to the base of the car where it acquired CAN data and sent it wirelessly to a Simulink application on a host laptop where a race engineer could monitor racecar data and tune controller settings. This enabled students to drive the car and experience their self-tuned control algorithms for themselves.

Whilst a primary design consideration for choosing Kvaser’s CAN interfaces was compatibility to MathWorks’ Vehicle Network Toolbox, Christoph explains: “The wireless capabilities of the Blackbird v2 allowed us to expand our project towards wireless telemetry data processing. Using the Blackbird as a major component for a professional test and tuning workflow is definitively a success factor.”

In line with good design practice, he cautions: “We would encourage users to design fail-safe systems. Wireless connections are always dependent on surrounding conditions and hence a system should work independently. Teams who don’t want to rely on wireless communication, will find the log-and-replay feature of VNT helpful.” It is for that reason that other Kvaser CAN interfaces were also used for the demo.

Read about the demo at MathWorks Racing Lounge Blog here.

Follow MathWorks’ step-by-step video guide to creating their remote-control race car, starting with Part 1: Programming ECUs Using Simulink Hardware Support.