Skip to main content

Qt in university education for automotive engineers

University education bears a high responsibility to prepare students for the requirements of modern computer systems. As an university of applied science, we are highly committed to teach our students the fundamentals of engineering and the handling of the industry’s leading toolsets. We would like to show a project where we use Qt as a teaching tool to visualize a MATLAB/Simulink simulation in real-time and another project where students use Qt itself to gain experience in UI-Design by developing mixed reality computer games. For the purpose of teaching the details of connected automotive vehicle functions, we have developed a modular learning management system which consists of multiple electrical control units like those of a modern car. Students can program these systems in C/C++ or by developing model driven software based on MATLAB/Simulink. The later approach is extremely interesting because it represents a very common way of professional software engineering in the automotive industry. Models can be simulated in soft or hard real-time prior to transferring it to the target platform. MATLAB/Simulink provides different dashboard elements for user input and output during simulation. To overcome the lack of flexibility with these simple widgets we combine MATLAB/Simulink for computational purposes and Qt Quick for visual input and output. This is done by extending the well-established Model-View-Controller (MVC) approach by splitting it up into two separately running processes (MATLAB/Simulink based model and Qt based UI) with a synchronized model database between both processes. The synchronization is done via serialized classes and UDP/IP transmission. In our particular example, we simulate the hardware behavior of our modular learning management system with a MATLAB/Simulink model and visualize the optical behavior and its inputs with a Qt Quick based UI to provide an utmost realistic test environment. By doing so, we are combining two leading technologies of the industry to increase their performances even more. To support and motivate our students in the field of modern UI development, we created a mixed reality platform to embed real-objects into the virtual-world and make them interact with each other. In comparison to other AR approaches, we wanted to make the real-world objects more interactive by mounting them on wheel-based mini robots and equip them with Wi-Fi interfaces for communication. For visualization of the virtual-world and tracking of the real-world objects we experimented with different projector-camera based approaches. The decreasing prices for large scale touch screens brought up the idea to use a 65″ multipoint touch screen as a table and place the robots on top of the screen. The touch functionality is used to track the robots’ positions and the display can be used to show a virtual world below them. As a reference implementation, we decided to create a mixed reality version of the popular tabletop game “Star Wars X-Wing”. Graphics are visualized entirely in Qt Quick and Qt3D to combine 2D and 3D animations to highlight certain events, show game statistics and instructions in completely new ways.

TALK: Qt in University Education for Automotive Engineers

SPEAKER: Torsten Wylegala

COMPANY: Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences

TRACK: Automotive

Talk recorded at the Qt World Summit 2019 event in Berlin. #QtWS19 November 2019 - BCC