The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Tongji University in Shanghai are researching standardizable methods for joint technology development in dispersed locations. In the research project Project MovE2China, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Chinese government, engineers in Germany and China will simultaneously work on the validation of electrified drive systems for fuel cell vehicles.
Global manufacturing chains are perfectly conventional: car manufacturers produce vehicles from prefabricated subsystems that are often manufactured in very different locations worldwide. However, development work tends to take place at one location. Traditionally, a vehicle is developed according to the ideas of a manufacturer in accordance with the specific requirements and regulatory requirements in the respective target markets.
It’s an anachronism in our globalized world. The problem of CO2, for example, concerns us all and we have to find global solutions that can be adapted regionally.—Professor Albert Albers, director of IPEK’s Institute for Product Development at KIT
The research project MovE2China (methods for the distributed development of H2 fuel cell vehicles in cooperation with China) funded by the German government by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Chinese side is concerned with the development and validation of electric drives for fuel cell vehicles over two sites as an example.
The spatial separation of the developers makes the use of the latest technologies and faster data connections necessary.
The place where the people in our joint team and the respective components are actually located is thus no longer relevant. A test vehicle can stand on our chassis dynamometer at KIT while the driver is in China.— Dr. med. Matthias Behrendt, who heads the project on the German side
The basis is the IPEK-developed IPEK-XiL (X-in-the-Loop) approach for the validation of mechatronic systems, which is already established in the KIT Center Mobility Systems.
In contrast to traditional validation methods, virtual and physical test forms are not used separately. This means that a fuel cell can physically stand in a laboratory at the KIT and be integrated from there for measurement purposes virtually in a test drive in Shanghai.
However, the biggest challenge in a common validation process is not the physical distance between team members and devices, says Albert Albers.
We need to remember what validating technical systems actually means. The question is not whether we have developed the technology correctly. Rather, we want to know whether we have developed the right technology for people. Anyone who has driven a car in Shanghai knows that car traffic works quite differently there.—Albert Albers
China and Germany are very differently structured target markets, with different vehicle requirements.This has an impact on the design of assistance systems such as parking aids, distance control or even automated driving.
In this research project, Germany and China share the goal of supporting the development of resource-efficient mobility. There is already a strategic partnership between KIT and Tongji University in Shanghai, covering many areas, such as teaching cooperation.