LETI & EFI AUTOMOTIVE LAUNCH PROJECT TO IMPROVE RELIABILITY AND SPEED OF LOW-COST ELECTRONIC DEVICES FOR AUTOS
Project Will Extend Model Predictive Control Technique to Microcontrollers, Digital Signal Processors and Other Devices that Lack Powerful Computation Capabilities
GRENOBLE and BEYNOST, France – Sept. 18, 2018 – Leti, a research institute of CEA Tech, and EFI Automotive, a leading international supplier of sensors, actuators and embedded smart modules for the automotive industry, today announced a project to dramatically improve reliability and response time of low-cost automotive components by equipping the devices with sophisticated model predictive control techniques.
Model predictive control (MPC) is an advanced method of process control that makes use of a model of the system to predict its behavior. The control law is based on an optimization technique that computes the system inputs, taking into account the reference that the system output has to follow, together with the effort (energy) that is applied on the system inputs and some constraints that may exist within the system, typically saturation of the system inputs.
MPC also allows electronics equipment to perform at levels that are not possible with standard control laws, e.g. proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers. But this sophisticated technique is rarely used on low-cost, low-capability computing units, because it requires solving optimization problems under constraints, which is a complex computational task.
Leti and EFI Automotive are evaluating the implementation of MPC on low-cost, low-computational-capability computing platforms, such as microcontrollers or low-cost digital signal processors (DSPs). The goal is to improve the dynamics of the systems considered, because automotive certification is easier when the control law is implemented on a DSP or a microcontroller. An example of EFI Automotive product, which will benefit from the MPC implementation, is the Air Loop Actuator (Figure 1).
Figure 1: EFI Air Loop Actuator Prototype (200ms response time).
Numerical command and power stage integrated
“The control community, including academic researchers and process control experts in industry, is trying to make MPC available for these systems by resolving the underlying optimization problem on a low computational-capability computing platform,” said Marie-Sophie Masselot, business development manager, Leti. “This shortcoming usually leads to suboptimal performance for the controlled system. Our project with EFI Automotive will take into account specifics to offset the drop in performance, or response time, introduced when solving the model predictive control problem on this low computational-capability computing platform.”
In addition to transferring its expertise in MPC to EFI Automotive, Leti will develop software-automation tools dedicated to a given problem as a feasibility demonstration for the MPC project, and then make the tools easily expandable to similar control challenges.
For example, Leti and EFI will develop an MPC law for a given system and, with its increased expertise, EFI will expand this control technique to other systems.
“By combining Leti’s MPC expertise with our know-how in real-time processing on low-cost, low-computational capability computing units, we expect to dramatically improve the response time and reliability of our devices that are key to operating today’s complex vehicles,” said Vincent Liebart, innovation engineer at EFI Automotive.
Leti, a technology research institute at CEA Tech, is a global leader in miniaturization technologies enabling smart, energy-efficient and secure solutions for industry. Founded in 1967, Leti pioneers micro-& nanotechnologies, tailoring differentiating applicative solutions for global companies, SMEs and startups. Leti tackles critical challenges in healthcare, energy and digital migration. From sensors to data processing and computing solutions, Leti’s multidisciplinary teams deliver solid expertise, leveraging world-class pre-industrialization facilities. With a staff of more than 1,900, a portfolio of 2,700 patents, 91,500 sq. ft. of cleanroom space and a clear IP policy, the institute is based in Grenoble, France, and has offices in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. Leti has launched 60 startups and is a member of the Carnot Institutes network. Follow us on www.leti-cea.com and @CEA_Leti.
CEA Tech is the technology research branch of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), a key player in innovative R&D, defence & security, nuclear energy, technological research for industry and fundamental science, identified by Thomson Reuters as the second most innovative research organization in the world. CEA Tech leverages a unique innovation-driven culture and unrivalled expertise to develop and disseminate new technologies for industry, helping to create high-end products and provide a competitive edge.
About EFI Automotive
As a leading Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive supplier, EFI Automotive offers innovative solutions in the field of sensors, actuators and embedded smart modules, custom designed to match the needs of its major international customers. EFI Automotive invests 8% of its annual turnover in R&D, advancing every day through the efforts of 200 engineers and technicians around the world. This focus on continuous progress helped EFI Automotive achieve almost €200 million in consolidated sales in 2014.