Formula E – Technology Partner of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

As a long-standing technology partner of Audi Sport, we have been supporting software development for the cars of racing drivers Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt and René Rast of Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler since 2016. Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler won the driver title with di Grassi in 2017 and the team title in 2018.

Formel E Siegerteam freut sich über den Gewinn.
Daniel Abt, Lucas di Grassi

Photo: Audi Communication Motorsport

The software developments include the control of the new powertrain of the Audi e-tron FE05 – including energy strategy and cockpit display as a human-machine interface for the visualization of energy metrics. This season we’re also deeply involved in the simulation and evaluation of vehicle concepts. In the area of vehicle handling dynamics, ITK optimizes the power and torque controllers. By consistently pursuing a model-based development approach, ITK enables the realization of new functions within the extremely short development cycles common in motorsports.

The challenges: New race tracks, short development cycles, and a limited supply of energy add to the excitement

The all-electric Formula E racing series allows automobile manufacturers to convincingly demonstrate that motorsports does not always involve noisy engines and the smell of gasoline. The software integrated into a race car plays a decisive role in determining which electric car wins Formula E. Teams are namely permitted to make only very minor modifications to the hardware of a homologated vehicle. Conversely, they enjoy a wide range of opportunities for optimizing the car’s software during the saison. Because only a certain amount of the available battery energy can be used during a race, teams need an intelligent energy-management strategy that ensures ideal distribution of energy and maximizes average vehicle speed. And it needs to ensure all of that in different situations: on unfamiliar race tracks, in adverse weather, during safety-car periods, or in a duel with a rival.

Formel E Fahrer

What is the biggest challenge of all? Time!

On a race track, fractions of a second separate victory from defeat. Race car engineers must likewise race against the clock to meet extreme deadlines. Short gaps between races mean that teams must be able to very quickly and reliably develop new functions that sometimes cannot be put to the test until the weekend of the race.

The solution: High-precision simulations lead to victory

ITK handles everything from requirements analysis, development, and the combination 
of verification and validation all the way to integration into the vehicle. In this way, ITK Engineering helps Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler implement new functions and optimize its energy strategy. Algorithms designed under strict adherence to processes of model-based software development allow calculated strategies and energy-distribution solutions to be stored on the vehicle control unit in real time. What’s more, the team can continuously adapt these strategies and solutions during a race as conditions change. 

In this context, temporally deterministic development processes play an essential role in making sure that the team can implement outstanding race track  solutions just in time for race day. Despite a lack of empirical data from the race track, virtualization and simulation enable requirements to be met extremely quickly while maintaining the highest standards of quality, traceability, test coverage, and documentation.

ITK assists Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler with:

Zwei Formel E Rennfahrzeuge auf der Rennstrecke

To be successful in Formula E, many details and far more than just the fastest car in the field matter. Efficiency, recuperation, strategy and battery management – powertrain and software have to smoothly interact so that our drivers are able to rely on their Audi e-tron FE05 one hundred percent. That’s the key to success in this racing series. In ITK Engineering, we’ve been enjoying the support of an experienced partner for many years – not only in terms of creating the software but also with regard to its permanent tuning and further development.

Dieter Gass, Head of Audi Motorsport

The added value: Success with intelligent software

A driver as well as their vehicle and the entire racing team must cooperate flawlessly if they are to triumph in motorsports. By following an uncompromising approach to model-based development, the team succeeded in developing new functionalities in the shortest of time spans, as well as ensuring virtual preparation for race events, driver training in a simulator, and a winning energy strategy. All of this certainly helped Lucas di Grassi to maximize the potential of his vehicle at all times – propelling him to the 2017 Formula E championship title.

Benefits

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Managing short development cycles

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Ensuring virtual security

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Enabling high-precision simulations