Thermal and air quality modeling of an electric vehicle cabin with low-cost sensors and reinforcement learning

Russi, Luigi (2023) Thermal and air quality modeling of an electric vehicle cabin with low-cost sensors and reinforcement learning, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Meccanica e scienze avanzate dell'ingegneria, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/11013.
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The design process of any electric vehicle system has to be oriented towards the best energy efficiency, together with the constraint of maintaining comfort in the vehicle cabin. Main aim of this study is to research the best thermal management solution in terms of HVAC efficiency without compromising occupant’s comfort and internal air quality. An Arduino controlled Low Cost System of Sensors was developed and compared against reference instrumentation (average R-squared of 0.92) and then used to characterise the vehicle cabin in real parking and driving conditions trials. Data on the energy use of the HVAC was retrieved from the car On-Board Diagnostic port. Energy savings using recirculation can reach 30 %, but pollutants concentration in the cabin builds up in this operating mode. Moreover, the temperature profile appeared strongly nonuniform with air temperature differences up to 10° C. Optimisation methods often require a high number of runs to find the optimal configuration of the system. Fast models proved to be beneficial for these task, while CFD-1D model are usually slower despite the higher level of detail provided. In this work, the collected dataset was used to train a fast ML model of both cabin and HVAC using linear regression. Average scaled RMSE over all trials is 0.4 %, while computation time is 0.0077 ms for each second of simulated time on a laptop computer. Finally, a reinforcement learning environment was built in OpenAI and Stable-Baselines3 using the built-in Proximal Policy Optimisation algorithm to update the policy and seek for the best compromise between comfort, air quality and energy reward terms. The learning curves show an oscillating behaviour overall, with only 2 experiments behaving as expected even if too slow. This result leaves large room for improvement, ranging from the reward function engineering to the expansion of the ML model.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Russi, Luigi
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
reinforcement learning, machine learning, EV, thermal management, low-cost sensors, comfort, internal air quality
Data di discussione
23 Giugno 2023

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