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A Smart Solution In Formula E

In a series with spec rules, one Formula E team has utilized intelligent software solutions in its search for a competitive edge.

By Nick Gagala

Based in Kuhardt, Germany, ITK Engineering develops customer-specific software solutions for the upper levels of motorsports, including a recent project to develop and optimize intelligent software for Formula E race cars.

As a software partner of the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team in the FIA Formula E Championship, the company develops the entire software for the vehicles of Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt.

“In addition to the transmission management system, we deliver the complete powertrain control, including the energy strategy and battery management system, and the cockpit Human Machine Interface,” said Thomas Schiller, head of the Motorsport division at ITK Engineering.

The company covers the entire development cycle, from requirement engineering through to development, verification and validation, integration into the vehicle, as well as trackside support during test runs and racing events. “Consistent application of a model-based development approach, as well as verification and validation in early development stages on our own HiL (hardware-in-the-loop) test benches, enables the realization of new functions within the extremely tight development cycles that are typical in motorsport,” Schiller said.

ITK Engineering’s objectives are the development and optimization of all individual electric and electronic systems, and a seamless interaction between systems in order to deliver the most competitive car for the driver, Schiller told us.

“A key to success in racing is to balance best performance with highest-level reliability of the car,” he explained. “Using model-based methods and seamless, virtual environments, we provide new functions at an early stage of development—independent of the availability of real components—without making any pit stops for test-specific adaptations. We check the interaction between individual components before testing on the race track, especially for distributed functionalities such as hybrid or gear shift strategies.”

ITK Engineering has recently converted what was previously a motorsports program into its very own division. “With this step, we will expand our motorsport business further within Europe and worldwide as well as position ourselves as a valued development partner of international teams,” Schiller said.

As race teams face greater regulations in the future, Schiller said there will be an increasing need for them to squeeze out the last drop of performance from their cars, which requires a holistic approach and perfect algorithms for the electronic systems.

“The motorsport market still has great potential to show engineering expertise at its best,” Schiller said. “The functionality in racing vehicles becomes increasingly complex, and intelligent software solutions will become more and more important, as every millisecond counts, in the race and during development.”

Software And Formula E

ITK Engineering serves as a software partner to the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team in the FIA Formula E Championship, covering the entire development cycle of the team’s two race cars.

Performance Racing Industry