The general research emphasis of the Integrated Vehicle Design Laboratory is on the systematic, comprehensive design of automotive vehicles. This includes the formal integration of design decisions from several disciplines including engineering, business, policy, and industrial design.

Currently, the main research thrust areas address the following:

Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) of Automotive Vehicles

Automotive vehicles are large-scale systems consisting of several subsystems and a wide array of components that require design knowledge spanning multiple engineering disciplines and sub-disciplines. While it is intuitive to think that the optimal design of these interacting subsystems and components translates into optimal system design, this is not always true. Integrated engineering design ensures that automotive vehicles are developed such that their system-level performance is optimal, even if their subsystem or component-level performance is not. We intend to apply MDO theory to facilitate integrated design, with particular emphasis on the novel implementation of decomposition-based MDO strategies and the development of appropriate models to support such strategies. We investigate highly-relevant problem applications such as hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain design.

Combined Multidisciplinary Design & Control Optimization of Automotive Vehicles

Although traditional MDO theory and optimal control theory have been applied to the physical system and control system design of automotive vehicles respectively, there have been limited studies that integrate these two design problems for vehicles in a balanced manner. This is problematic as physical system and control system design are generally dependent on one another. Therefore, combined physical system and control system design, or co-design, becomes necessary. An emerging subfield of MDO research known as multidisciplinary dynamic system design optimization (MDSDO) addresses the co-design problem from a more balanced and multidisciplinary perspective than existing design approaches. We intend to develop, enhance, and apply MDSDO theory in the co-design of HEV and PHEV powertrains as well as autonomous driving and active safety systems for automotive vehicles.