Simulink Student Challenge Winners

MathWorks announces the winners of the 2022 Simulink Student Challenge. Congratulations and thanks to all the students who entered.

1st Place

Design and Development of a Hub Motor Hybrid Vehicle Using Simulink

Politecnico di Milano, Italy – Meng Zhang

This project models an interesting all-wheel drive hybrid vehicle driven by hub motors designed in Simulink. Meng succinctly explains the two main energy sources for his vehicle, a solar panel and a combustion engine connected to a generator. The model’s battery pack uses characteristics from a real lithium-ion cell. Meng uses Simscape to model the various physical systems involved.

Meng designed an energy management system which controls both propulsion and regenerative braking to extend the range of the hybrid vehicle. He demonstrates his model and results with clear visualizations and explanations throughout the video. His use of an Unreal Engine simulation demonstrating his model for motor speed allocation based on Ackerman steering was particularly interesting.

Overall, this project is a stellar and holistic example of using Simulink for rapidly prototyping concepts, such as a hybrid vehicle only propelled by hub motors. We wish Meng good luck as he continues to improve his model with a more complex energy management strategy based on optimal control theory.

2nd Place

Vehicle Dynamics Multibody Model using Simulink

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain – José Antonio Yáñez

This project uses Simulink and Simscape Multibody to model a formula racing car with the goal of improving the real car’s performance in a competition that challenges students to build formula-style racing cars. Components of the car, including wheels, antiroll bar, suspension, chassis, and aerodynamic components, are modelled in Simscape Multibody. The team analyses critical data such as the dynamics of the vehicle, the load on each suspension element, and individual wheel travel. We were impressed by the fidelity of the model, as the team included the ground to make the model as realistic as possible.

To validate the model, simulations are run with real inputs and results are compared to real data from GPS sensors on the car. The team leverages their model well by evaluating the car’s performance with different parameters (damping and spring constants of the suspensions, center of gravity position, load distribution, etc.) in simulation before modifying the real car. This approach allows them to quickly conduct multiple design iterations without directly affecting the real car.

Overall, this project is a textbook example of how Model-Based Design can be used to accurately simulate complex systems and use the results to tune real-world systems with minimal time and resources. We hope to see Fernando Alonso or Carlos Sainz driving their car one day!

3rd Place

Look Ma, No Electronics! – Clockwork Venus Rover

University of Southampton, England – Oliver Hilton

This project demonstrates the control logic of a rover used for surface exploration on Venus. Due to Venus’ hostile environment for electronics, the team envisions an entirely mechanical system for obstacle detection and rover control. A highly appropriate name of “Clockwork Venus Rover” was given to the model.

Rods placed on the rover’s front create six model inputs. A deceptively simple combination of logic gates modeled and optimized in Simulink processes those inputs and translates them into logical orders denoting the rover’s movement system. The logical Simulink model is representative of the physical mechanical gates used to control the rover’s movement on Venus.

The project displays an innovative concept of mechanical control and demonstrates how complex systems can be simplified using visual modeling tools such as Simulink. The narrative, graphics, and overall excellent video quality make this entry well-suited for the Simulink Student Challenge.