Current TRL: 2 (9/30/21)

“Emulated Sensors & Individual Sensors Have Been Tested”


SCADA is an acronym for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. It is a term borrowed from industrial control applications, where a single server is often used to oversee large industrial plants such as oil refineries and assembly lines. In general, SCADA systems have three functions, they acquire data from the network of sensors connected to the plant, send control signals to the plant’s other subsystems, and provide an interface for humans to interact with the plant by viewing aggregated data and issuing commands. The Lafayette FSAE team has been working to develop a SCADA system that can be fully integrated into its electric vehicle, with the goal of performing all of the above three functions both during normal operation and throughout the various testing and maintenance procedures that it will undergo.

The current SCADA System allows for a maintainable, user-readable configuration file that establishes any variables that may change in a network of sensors, namely the sensors and their attributes. There is currently support for I2C, CAN, and USB sensors. In the configuration YAML file, there is a unified format to declare the attributes for any sensor on the vehicle, regardless of the sensor’s data protocol. This format even allows for “virtual” sensors, which do not actually exist but are calculated based on the values of other sensors.

Literature Review 


The FSAE formula electric vehicle is composed of different subsystems working together. The more subsystems the car possesses, the harder it is to detect any anomaly for a specific subsystem. In order to overcome this, the FSAE team needs a supervisory system in order to monitor the car. The data collected can be useful for the technicians and engineers to detect and repair any technical issues. 

For that reason, the Lafayette FSAE team decided to develop the SCADA system. SCADA stands for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. As the name indicates, it is not a full control system, but rather focuses on the supervisory level. As such, it is a purely software package that is positioned on top of hardware to which it is interfaced, in general via Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), or other commercial hardware modules. SCADA systems are used not only in most industrial processes: e.g. steel making, power generation (conventional and nuclear) and distribution, chemistry, but also in some experimental facilities such as nuclear fusion. 

SCADA Development Tool

The Lafayette SCADA system was developed by the students. The team developed the different modules from scratch. However, there are also other alternatives that can make the development easier. For example, the University of Singapore decided to use Labview to develop its SCADA system for the FSAE. Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench (LabView) is a system-design platform and development environment for a visual programming language. This software possesses a built-in user interface template. It also already has drivers that allow it to communicate directly to microcontrollers and FPGA along with different sensors. In [1] the author provides a way to build a supervisory system using the Labview. 

Remote Telemetry

The goal of a supervisory system is to have real-time information about the system to supervise. In the case of the FSAE electric vehicle, the car will move during the competition. Therefore, it is necessary to have a method to get the data in real-time even if the car is moving. In [2] the author provides technical detail about how to send and get data remotely to monitor the car. The project is based on an Arduino Mega microcontroller and its shields, which gather and transmit data from multiple sensors that measure parameters such as suspension travel, throttle/brake position, steering angle, fuel pressure, lateral/longitude/vertical acceleration, engine coolant temperature and many more sensor-values from the Engine Control Module (ECU) via CAN-BUS.

Can Bus Communication

As mentioned previously, the main goal of entering the new year of Lafayette Formula Hybrid for SCADA is to improve the data sampling rate. This will likely require improvement in the architecture of the current software. [3] details the role the architecture software has when interfacing with various types of sensor and data types. [3] specifically uses the CAN bus for its data collection. In addition, [3] goes into extensive detail regarding the different types of data to collect. As the SCADA subsystem continues to progress, it will continually reference [3] to find new types of data to collect and have in-depth engineering analysis to back why this data will be effective in creating a better car. 

Control Strategy and Hardware Loop

SCADA does not only include data acquisition, the other half is supervisory control. Being able to build a control system that will automate certain changes to the car is a rigorous but vital task. [4] details how an anti-skid control system was created by tracking the optimal slip rate of the car and making use of the road surface adhesion coefficient. While [2] doesn’t orient itself around this specific control system but rather how safety can be implemented through control algorithms. The value of open-loop testing in the creation of these algorithms is illustrated through [4]. This approach, and potentially the algorithms themselves, will prove to be exceptionally valuable in the design of the SCADA subsystem. Safety is always the most important part of any task and being able to automate this process while eliminating human error is unquantifiably valuable. 

Annotated Bibliography

[1] Building a data acquisition architecture for a formula SAE RACECAR. NI. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2021, from link

This article is a short case study detailing the construction of a custom data acquisition system for the National University of Singapore Formula SAE team. The article offers an introduction to FSAE generally and introduces the relevant constraints and metrics that the architecture is required to meet. From here the author offers a semi-detailed explanation of how the system architecture and the interface between the hardware components (NI’s CompactRio) and software (written in LABVIEW). The case study provides useful information on developing a Real-Time Controller Module in order to acquire real-time data from any NUS team car. Additionally, the case study offers relevant information on developing a GUI to allow pit engineers to examine sensor data in real-time. The article provides useful information for the SCADA team as they examine introducing a real-time data collection module for Lafayette’s Formula Hybrid Car.

[2] Fathizadeh, M., & Ayyad, A. (2018). Application of remote telemetry for improving Formula SAE car performance. Transactions on Engineering Technologies, 229–243. link

This paper provides a brief about the construction of the Purdue Northwest Formula SAE team’s telemetry and data acquisition system. The paper details how relevant sensors, programming tools, and simulations were utilized to develop a system to collect car data in real time. The paper specifically details the use of telemetry in order to transmit the collected data to the pit crew for real-time analysis and post-driving session analysis. Additionally, the paper details how specific components of the car make use of data collection. Relevant subsystems that are detailed include the car’s suspension and drivetrain. Of note, the paper discusses specific sensors and relevant error calculations utilized in order to assess the accuracy of derived readings. This paper is of use to the SCADA sub-team through discussion of types of sensors to include in subsystem design as well as how to implement appropriate error calculations in order to assess the accuracy of readings vs real-life phenomena. 

[3] Li, Z., Wang, D., & Kang, Q. (2021). The development of Data Acquisition System of Formula SAE race car based on can bus communication interface and closed-loop design of racing car. Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing, 2021, 1–18. link

This paper provides a relevant overview of the data acquisition system of another Formula SAE car that makes use of a CAN bus communication interface as a means to collect relevant data and influence optimization-based simulations. This paper offers significant detail on the software architecture as a means to interface with various sensors and their respective data types. Additionally, this paper specifically details various formulas in order to create lumped parameters such as roll gradient (RG), roll stiffness, and total longitudinal load transfer. These are useful parameters to consider specifically for the SCADA team and the overall Lafayette Motorsports project because these parameters offer an example of modeling the behavior of the car analytically in order to predict the performance of the car prior to physical testing. Additionally, the paper details how various analyses were performed on different data sets in order to improve analytical models and influence the control aspect of the data acquisition system. 

[4] Zhang, J., Lv, X., & Lv, Y. (2021). Research on vehicle control strategy and hardware in loop for pure electric FSAE vehicle. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1732, 012172. link

This paper offers an overview of the hardware in the loop testing strategy for a data acquisition and control system. The paper details various methods for testing various subsystems for a purely electric formula car. The testing principles are additionally useful for informing the control laws built into the system as a means to utilize collected data in order to improve car performance. The paper’s analysis of hardware in the loop testing is extremely valuable to the SCADA subteam as a means to develop their own testing regiment in order to improve the SCADA subsystem to better optimize the Lafayette Motorsports Formula Hybrid car. Additionally, this paper offers an introduction to energy regeneration via an electric car’s braking system as a means to regain energy dissipated by the car when the brakes are engaged. 

User and Maintenance Manuals 

SCADA_2021 User Manual (PDF)

SCADA_2021 Maintenance Manual (PDF)

SCADA Installation Instructions (PDF)

Errata 2021

SCADA Errata (PDF)

Poster 2021

SCADA-2021 Poster (PDF)

SCADA High-Level Diagram

Below is a preview of the high level of the current SCADA system. It was designed by the previous team.

NB: The functions of these different blocks are explained in detail in the following link: here

SCADA High-Level Software Architecture Diagram

SCADA High-Level Hardware Architecture Diagram

  • SCADA Carman GUI

The SCADA GUI is a user interface that will be connected to Carman to visualize different sensor readings in the car. It is placed at the back of the car. The current design of the GUI is as follows:


SCADA Carman Display Graphical User Interface

  • SCADA Post Processing

The purpose of the post-processing system is to allow the car team to analyze data after the car has run for a period of time. The Post Processing system is meant to be run on a local computer. The high-level diagram below shows the general overview of the software architecture.

SCADA Post Processing Software Architecture Diagram

It records the data such as the duration of the car travel during a specific date as well as the sensor reading history.

Post Processing GUI Session Browser

There is a way to export these data for future purposes.

SCADA Post Processing GUI: Export Settings

TRL Chart

TRL What does this look like? Expected Completion Date
9 Competition Ready TBD
8 Metzgar High-Speed Test TBD
7 Rolling Chassis Test — low-speed data collection in semi-relevant environment (Metzgar/AEC parking lot) TBD
6 Integrated Car Static Test — Collecting Data relevant subsystems while at rest TBD
5 SCADA has been tested in DYNO/AEC 134 w/Individual Subsystems 12/10/21
4 Integrated Rig Tests With Multiple Sensor Inputs 11/12/21
3 Emulated Sensors & Individual Sensors Have Been Tested 10/31/21
2 Hardware & Software Selection COMPLETED
1 Purpose of system has been identified COMPLETED


Additional  Documentation

  •  Scada Design Review I: Here 
  • 2020-2021 Source Repository: Here