Some time ago, the staff of the Advanced Powertrain Research Facility at Argonne National Laboratory asked me if we could create a robotic driver to control speed of a vehicle on their dynamometer. There are off-the-shelf solutions for this task but it would be difficult to get the level of configurability and integration needed with these systems.
We used LabVIEW to develop a relatively sophisticated PID control system to handle the significant non-linearities found in the control of most vehicles and Copley Controls servo tubes as a linear actuator. Our initial tests were successful and we controlled the vehicle to reasonable speed tolerances with minimal tuning. This relative ease of setup combined with tight integration with the existing data acquisition solution we provided for them gives the APRF ease of use and access to the control code for future flexibility.
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