R & D

SwRI Expands automotive research footprint in Detroit area

SwRI Expands automotive research footprint in Detroit area
Photo courtesy of SwRI.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is expanding its automotive research footprint in Ann Arbor, Mich., U.S.A., to provide more convenient access to SwRI’s powertrain engineering services to clients in the Detroit area.

SwRI has signed an agreement with A&D Technology Inc. to provide client services with powertrain development cells in the Detroit area, augmenting SwRI’s more than 200 powertrain dynamometers in San Antonio. This extends SwRI’s automotive research and development capacity to conduct high-efficiency powertrain development and emissions research.

“We are excited to announce that SwRI signed a business agreement with A&D Technology to capitalise on the strengths of both of our companies for expansion in the Detroit market,” said Daniel Stewart, P.E., vice president of SwRI’s Powertrain Engineering Division. “The joint partnership will combine A&D’s state-of-the-art data acquisition and calibration tools with SwRI’s experience in powertrain controls and automotive product development.”

The laboratory space includes three test cells, one of which is equipped with a 275 kW, low-inertia, permanent-magnet dynamometer with maximum speed of 8,000 rpm. The cell is outfitted with SwRI’s RPECS powertrain benchmarking and control system and a suite of A&D’s automation system software, including iTest test automotive software, Phoenix combustion analysis SYSTEM and ORION automated calibration software.

“Having a laboratory in Ann Arbor allows us to work more closely with our clients in the region,” said Scott Hotz, P.E., who oversees SwRI’s Ann Arbor operations. “Working with A&D Technology and its state-of-the-art facilities and equipment will help us meet our clients’ needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

“A&D is elated to host SwRI’s premier multidisciplinary services and boundary-defining work to our Ann Arbor facility,” said Mike Uhl, CEO of A&D Technology. “Feedback from these advanced R&D programs will add additional insight into A&D’s product advancement and will allow A&D to continue to lead in markets related to data acquisition and control, integration, combustion analysis, engine calibration, vehicle dynamics, simulation, emissions, data management, and lab safety.”

SwRI has had a presence in Ann Arbor for 15 years, applying custom, prototype powertrain controllers, benchmarking powertrain control systems, and providing on-site support.

SwRI’s automotive engineers already are gearing up to use the laboratory for a U.S. Department of Energy project. The DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA–E) recently awarded SwRI up to USD2.9 million to develop connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies aimed at improving fuel economy by more than 20%. Under the three-year project, the team will develop control algorithms to leverage vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies to optimise a hybrid vehicle’s route, speed profile and power flows. The technology could help define future powertrain performance requirements and enable more efficient control of powertrain and vehicle dynamics. The project is part of ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program.

For more than 60 years, SwRI has been the world’s largest independent research, development, and testing organisation for engines, fuels, lubricants and emissions technology.

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