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umlaut and Vector Cooperate on Value-Added Services for E-Bus Fleet Operators

With Vector’s hardware and software and umlaut‘s testing expertise, electric mass transit buses will be charged more intelligently in the future.

The cooperation of the two companies Vector and umlaut now enables users to check the correct implementation of Value-Added Services (VAS) and to test them end-to-end. As a result, transport companies send their electric buses on the roads in urban traffic, at an optimal temperature for drivers and passengers and with more reach. For VAS to work, the three components involved - vehicle, charging station, and backend - must interact flawlessly.

Value-Added Services

The control of the preconditioning of electric buses was defined by the ‘Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV = Association of German Transport Companies) as a Value-Added Service in the VDV 261 document. VAS are communication processes between e-vehicles, charging station and backend, which are provided for in ISO 15118. In the example of city buses, the backend and the vehicle exchange command and information, such as departure time, time required for heating/cooling, etc. via the VDV 261 protocol.
To ensure that the e-buses are ready for operation at departure time, it is not only a matter for the battery to be charged as efficiently as possible. Energy-intensive processes in e-buses, such as heating and air conditioning in the passenger compartment, providing hot water or heating the battery to operating temperature, etc., should preferably be carried out using energy from the charging station. With vehicle preconditioning, this can be done automatically and promptly well before departure time. Thus, the battery capacity is largely available for driving and is not consumed right at the start by the tasks mentioned. For example, if a bus must be ready to depart for its round at 3 p.m., the system regulates the heating to the pre-set temperature, until then.

Charging and load management systems in the depot

To save costs during operation, a charging and load management system, such as vCharM from Vector, is ideally used. This also enables vehicle preconditioning in accordance with VDV 261 and the integration of fleet and depot management systems in accordance with VDV 463. Thereby, depot operators plan charging sessions efficiently with the resulting data on arrival and departure times, the route, and information on the state of charge and energy requirements.

End-to-end tests simplify the introduction of VAS

The multiple test possibilities given by vCharM are used by umlaut test engineers to develop customized solutions - for vehicle OEMs and charging pole manufacturers as well as for bus depot operators. All parties involved in the chain must implement their part correctly according to the specifications to enable functionality of the VAS in practical operations. This is exactly where umlaut comes in: in close cooperation with Vector's developers, umlaut designs test scenarios for the specific use case, for example fault injection tests. Tests with invalid Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates, interruptions in communication or the interaction of several buses logging into the e-bus depot can also be simulated.

Thanks to the combination of Vector's hardware and software additions and umlaut's VAS expertise on vulnerabilities and points of attack, their customers benefit from unique opportunities. They can have their VAS implementation put through its paces to identify and fix potential sources of error.

The vehicle, charging station and backend often only meet for the first time at the end customer, the depot operator. If interoperability problems then occur, the umlaut teams can quickly and specifically go into a deep error analysis and, with the help of the possibilities of vCharM, identify the problems and propose solutions. As an error detective umlaut mediates between all parties involved.

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