Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Collaboration Required for Intelligent Vehicle Dynamics & Controls



May 2020

Join us on Wednesday, 20th May for the next FISITA Online Conference which is on the topic of Intelligent Vehicle Dynamics and Control. For more information and to register, please click here.

In preparation for next week, we wanted to bring together some background as an introduction to the topic. We asked Dr Mike Ma, FISITA VP Technical and Professor at Jilin University, who is moderating the conference, a few questions and here are his answers:

1. You have published and reviewed many papers over the years on vehicle dynamics and control, what are the most recent hot topics and have there been any major changes in thinking over the last few years?

The vehicle dynamics and control are becoming more and more intelligent and sophisticated and they improve the vehicle performance dramatically, especially with big data and AI that have been promoting the automobile’s intellectualization, humanization and personalization. In recent years, the hot topics in vehicle dynamics and control mostly related to the promising AI technologies, such as autonomous driving, learning control, model-based/model free control, etc.

However, the new technologies have enriched the capabilities of automotive control in the academic field and the mobile industry and have also given automotive control new missions. To implement the autonomous driving technology, conventional dynamics and control technologies are still necessary as the foundation to ensure the safety of passengers. The engineers need to learn from the dynamics and control to acknowledge more clearly the “plant” dynamics, which would enable the more efficient and provable learning iterations.

In other words, people in the mobility industry have to be equipped with the interdisciplinary knowledge instead of only AI tech to better develop the products for the high-level autonomous driving. Therefore, although AI technology is fashionable, the development of vehicle intelligent safety is inseparable from the advanced research of vehicle dynamics.

2. Companies from the automotive and computer industries have been working with academia for many years in this area around the world with many different collaborative and other projects springing up. How long do you think this will continue and do you think governments, infrastructure and cities being involved will cause more fragmentation and slow progress or will something change to accelerate progress?

The human-vehicle-traffic is a whole ecosystem. The governments, infrastructure and cities are all contributing and benefiting from within such an ecosystem. The comprehensive involvement by them will accelerate the progress, enabling more trials and initiatives from different sources which will help to get global optimization, instead of local optimization. Above that, there are still a lot of fundamental tech issues to overcome, which would heavily rely on the continue cooperation between the academic and the industry side. Therefore, the cooperation will be kept for a long time.

In the overall trend of future mobility industry, automotive enterprises still play an important role. Many automotive enterprises are transforming to mobility enterprises, which will provide a wider range of service and products. Computer enterprises have the advantages in the field of artificial intelligence and big data. The flexible coordination between traditional and high-tech enterprises will inject more energy into the mobility industry. The support of government, city and infrastructure is the catalyst to accelerate the progress of mobility revolution and will lead to autonomous driving benefit for passengers more quickly.

To summarise, the development of future mobility industry needs the joint contribution from automobile enterprises, computer enterprises and governments.

3. We understand that you will be discussing platoon kinematics at the conference – will you be talking about this, as multiple autonomous vehicles coordinating or are you also looking at this as the infrastructure taking over control and actually managing “subjugated” vehicles?

Our topic and recent research focus on the host vehicle following control with whole platoon’s kinematics, where all vehicle’s positions, velocities and accelerations are included, to satisfy the human driver operation habits, reduce the platoon vehicle response lag accumulation, and improve ride comfort, safety and traffic efficiency. In this research, the I2V and V2V technologies will be used to obtain and send vehicles’ states in the platoon to the host vehicle. And the multiple autonomous vehicles coordinating will be extended in the future.

Adopting the centralized architecture, multiple vehicles are easier to coordinate, and the overall cost is lower. But the centralized architecture has poor reliability and lacks the flexibility of expansion. Once the control center fails, it will affect the overall security and cause huge losses.

Using the distributed architecture, the advantage is that when any computing unit fails, other agents can also realize self-organization. Meanwhile, the expansion flexibility is better. The disadvantage is that each agent needs to calculate, which increases the complexity of the system.

4. Who do you hope will attend this online conference?

  • Researchers and educators with interests on intelligent vehicles and would like to be inspired in communication.
  • Leading mobility specialists who are interested in building a future intelligent mobility system.
  • Undergraduates/graduates in automotive or related fields with the passion for intelligent vehicle dynamics and controls to learn from cutting-edge academic experts worldwide.