Matlab, Simulink speed engine development of Mazda’s Skyactiv-D-engine

January 14, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Japanese carmaker Mazda has used Matlab, Simulink, and the Model-Based Calibration Toolbox to speed the engine development of "Skyactiv" technology. As a result, Mazda was able to optimize the efficiency of these engines while meeting strict emissions standards worldwide.

Skyactiv engines incorporate hardware advances that deliver more torque and improve fuel economy. Model-Based Calibration Toolbox helped Mazda take advantage of these advances by extracting better fuel efficiency and lowering exhaust emissions further than would have possible with manual, spreadsheet-based calibration approaches. Mazda achieved these gains through the design of optimal test plans and optimization methods, which minimized engine calibration workload and test cell usage. “Finding an optimal calibration setting in a search space of five or more dimensions is difficult even for experienced calibration engineers, so we could never be certain that we had found the best possible settings,” said Shingo Harada, assistant manager at Mazda. “Model-Based Calibration Toolbox not only enabled us to identify optimal calibration settings for the "Skyactiv"-D engine, it greatly reduced the engineering effort required. The models it generated accelerated control logic development, and made it easy to try new ideas.”

Mazda engineers used Simulink and Model-Based Calibration Toolbox to accelerate the generation and development of optimal calibration settings, ECU-embeddable models, and engine models for hardware-in-the-loop simulation. This design approach cut embedded model complexity in half and also improved embedded model accuracy by 80%.

“Engine calibration is critical to achieving an optimal tradeoff among emission, fuel economy, and performance. With increasing control complexity and new engine hardware, calibration development has become a key challenge,” said Jon Friedman, automotive industry marketing manager, MathWorks. “Mazda shows it's possible to meet these often conflicting requirements by taking full advantage of the engine hardware investment, while reducing calibration workload.”

"Skyactiv"-D engines meet European and Japanese emission standards and are installed in production vehicles starting with model year 2012, including the Mazda CX-5.