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Electric Vehicles : Sensors and Programming

With the oil crisis of 1970s, which affected our day to day lives in unfathomable ways, the transport industry too took a toll. A steep increase in the fuel prices meant less use of personal vehicles and thus lesser profits for the automotive industry. With no end in sight to the continuous and exponential rise in fuel prices, it was only in the definite interest of the companies to shift from oil as a fuel to better alternatives.

Even though the idea of electric vehicles was prominent then, with some prototypes in existence, the major issue was mileage. With the meager coverage it gave, those cars were pretty useless other than for going shopping inside the city. Long drives and top speeds, the very component of thrill and adventure that car enthusiasts love about a drive was missing. There was no adrenaline rush in Battery Electric Vehicles compared to the traditional Internal Combustion Engine counterparts. 

That is until, the TESLA ROADSTER unveiled in 2008. This car caused a revolution. With top speeds of 200 kph and a mileage of 394 Km in a single charge, Tesla offered the world, a way to escape the conventional cars and have a glimpse into the future. Battery Electric Vehicles have another advantage over Internal Combustion Engine counterparts other than fuel. With lesser number of components and lesser complexity of operation, it was easy to program the vehicles such that increased the efficiency of the vehicle as a whole. With a battery acting as the main source and current running the car, the need for certain analog and digital sensors was also required.
  • The main component of an electric vehicle is the battery. With a battery acting as the source of energy and current running the car, the need for certain analog sensors was also required, mostly for measuring the current and voltage going into the brush-less motors and coming out through the battery. 
  • There is also a temperature sensor, for detecting high or a steep increase in the body frame of the car. 
  • Some Electric vehicles also have integrated GPS with them for navigation and use GPS sensors and a set of network assistance to connect the vehicle to the GPS. 
  • However, it is the Electric Parking Brake sensor, which increases the efficiency of the vehicle. Unlike the conventional ICE vehicles, the BEV’s have evolved over the ABS braking. The new braking system allows to convert the kinetic energy in applied breaking to be stored back as electricity in the batteries. 
  • Another important feature is the Body stability management system possessed by a lot of EVs which can avoid a sudden jerk in the frame providing comfort to the consumer. 
  • Also there are sensors for anti-theft and sensing tire pressures.
Another important feature of the electric vehicles is the Longitudinal Velocity and Road Slope Estimation System

These sensors can be used for various purposes, like distance measurement,velocity measurement, object detection, lane detection and much more. The integration of these with the GPS and Braking system can give the vehicle an utmost upper hand over the conventional vehicles as these can make a car go complete auto pilot. That is, once you feed in the coordinates, the car can drive it on its own.
Surely, the sensors on their own are useless. It is their integration with a central mainframe, that can control the car, that makes the vehicle a glimpse of the future. With the processing power in our hands now a days, this was not a problem and hence a central motherboard is what actually controls the BEVs. The very fact that everything in a BEV is completely digital should truly blow our minds. Unlike the conventional ICE vehicles, where pushing the accelerator pedal causes oil to be pumped into the engine, which is analog in nature, the BEV has a digital pedal. That is, the central motherboard senses the displacement of the pedal and depending on that decides how much voltage to pass to the motors. In auto pilot modes, it is the same motherboard that can control the whole car without the need for a human intervention.

With 5G en-route, a new possibility also arises. The low latency of 5G could be utilized by EVs in a very interesting way. With a ping of 0-3 microseconds, 5G can offer an opportunity of live detection of other vehicles on the road by a car. This means a more efficient system of self-driving cars across the globe can be used with less pressure on the sensors on board a vehicle and rather on a central processing unit elsewhere in the world that has the live time destination, speed, location, battery back-up, etc details of all the cars in the world to provide an optimized navigation path for every other car.

However, the design and integration of such a digital system is complex and hence equally complex to use. That is why companies are in need of exceptionally skilled, software engineers. Ones who have the thirst to work in unknown fields. From writing the basic kernel of operation of the system, to integrating all the sensors, to managing the vehicles networking and communication systems. 

But the most important of them all would be to develop a Graphic User Interface, so simple and elegant that the customer gets attracted to the design as well as finds it easy to use. With EVs being an emerging field and many countries already on their way to promote complete utilization of electric vehicles by 2030, this emerging field provides lot of unexplored opportunities to passionate engineers and creative artists.
We at plan to be a agreegator of EV repair, service & maintenance.


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