Student Profile: Thomas Miller

Thomas Miller

University of South Australia


Thomas is currently a third-year undergraduate student at the University of South Australia, studying Mathematical Sciences. Thomas plans to go on to complete an honours year in optimisation or statistics. Outside of study Thomas participates in competitive programming, volunteers in the community and enjoys playing games.

Optimal Cruise Control with Dual Electric Motors

The aim of this project is to develop an optimal motor control strategy for a solar car with two electric motors?one on each of the rear wheels. Each motor has a associated motor controller that controls the current applied to the motor windings, and hence the torque of the motor. The motors and motor controllers each have efficiencies that depend on parameters including speed, current, torque and temperature. When the car is cruising at a constant speed, the torque required to maintain the required speed will depend on external forces including aerodynamic drag, wind forces and the gradient of the road. Usually, the total torque required will be less than the capability of a single motor. The aim of the research is to determine how much total torque is required to maintain a constant speed, and how much of this total torque should be generated from each motor to minimise the sum of the power losses in the motors and controllers. The project will combine efficiency models for the motor controllers and motors to determine the optimal control required to minimise power losses. It will also develop a control algorithm that will control the motors to maintain a constant speed as efficiently as possible. The ultimate aim is to develop a simple real-time control strategy that can be implemented on a microcontroller.

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