Steering Forward

Richard Olawoyin, Ph.D., associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, leads avant-garde research aimed at optimization and safety of the steering systems

Professor standing in automotive plant

Dr. Olawoyin works from SECS Safety Engineering and Applications Laboratory (SEAL), where he designs impactful solutions with high potential for valuable application.

icon of a calendarDecember 10, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Arina Bokas

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As the industry is shifting gears from conventional driving technology to fully autonomous mode and electric engines, Richard Olawoyin, Ph.D., associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, leads avant-garde research aimed at optimization and safety of the steering systems.

Dr. Olawoyin’s research on maintaining safe calculation and decision making for the steering systems is in high demand by automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers. The increased complexity of automated driving system architecture, software and hardware interaction and interfacing in the control systems magnifies the risk of hardware failures and fatality. Thus, in order to minimize the risks of a sudden loss of control, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 26262 standard requires OEMs to implement safety procedures in the vehicle control modules.

“Market projections show increasing curb weight of electric vehicles by 25% to 30% due to the extra weight of the high voltage on-board batteries and their electronics,” explains Dr. Olawoyin. “To make the electric vehicle safe and reliable, the new steering changes of the steering rack forces should be implemented. With such statistical and engineering tools as machine learning, data modeling can provide a pathway for optimization.”

Using intelligent optimization techniques for systems improvement, Dr. Olawoyin and his doctorate students work from SECS Safety Engineering and Applications Laboratory (SEAL), where they design impactful solutions with high potential for valuable application. Among their most recent accomplishments is development of a new methodology for the assessment of system control logic path in highly-available electrical power systems (EPS).

“We recommend to change the automotive safety integrity level (ASIL) rating from ASIL B to ASIL C based on hazard analysis and risk assessment and ISO 26262 metrics. The current ASIL C mandates the failure in time to be less than 100 h−1 and the single point fault metric to be more than 97%. It is possible to achieve ASIL C for EPS systems using various types of architectures at the level of control logic paths utilizing the redundancy concepts,” Dr. Olawoyin says.

According to the researcher, such ASIL C mitigation can be achieved by incorporating a dual core microcontroller integrated with a power management and safety-monitoring unit. The correct implementation of this logic control path makes the EPS system simpler, faster, more reliable and cost effective.

Looking forward, Dr. Olawoyin plans to shift his focus from the hardware to the software architecture of the steering system. This future work has a potential to prevent fault propagation and memory partitioning for different ASIL classifications.

Robert Van Til, Ph.D., Pawley Professor of Lean Studies and ISE department chair, notes, “Dr. Olawoyin has been a great addition to our faculty team, enabling the department to offer new courses in safety and risk analysis. His expertise as an ABET accreditation evaluator has contributed to improvements in our program assessment activities that focus on the continuous improvement of our degree programs.”

With the goal to perform experiments to investigate the driver torque and the EPS assistance torque to the column, the researcher also opens the door to external collaboration: “Every steering system development company has configurations to simulate the driver and the system torque and the performance of the system. Since functional safety presents challenges for electric and autonomous vehicles, faults can be injected to see the effects on the EPS assistance. Anyone interested in our work can reach me by email,” Dr. Olawoyin says.

As technological advancement in the automotive industry necessitates a closer focus on functional safety for higher automated driving levels, Dr. Olawoyin’s research steers the industry forward. 

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