While Gale Force is known for top notch work in the medical device industry, our expertise actually extends into many areas. In fact our team includes two engineers with extensive experience in the automotive industry.
Tom Combs, Principal Engineer, spent nearly ten years of his career developing software used in automatic transmission controllers for high capacity trucks, stationary oil rigs, and airport crash trucks. The controllers are microprocessor-based devices that read the vehicle’s wheel and engine speeds, user gear shift selection, and accelerator pedal position to make decisions about when gears should shift. The controllers enact a gear change by controlling solenoid valves that engage the clutches and gears in a manner that best balances shift quality with component life. Tom used the CAN (J1939) network to coordinate the transmission controller and engine controller. Using this network the transmission controller has the ability to limit the engine speed and torque while creating a smoother shift and improve the overall quality of the life of the component.
John Pimley, Senior Software Engineer, has over twenty years of experience in automotive engineering. John engineered a side radar system for semi-trucks that warns drivers of collisions. John also worked on an international project to create a Simulink/Matlab Thermal Control System for hybrid batteries used in heavy duty vehicles. The batteries are designed to function independently or in a group configuration. The control system monitors temperature and determines the ideal temperature set point for the batteries.
One of John’s favorite projects was his work on the Corvette Personalization System. This system stores driver preferences such as seat, mirror, and steering column positions, as well as radio presets. Each driver is uniquely identified by a key fob. As the driver approaches the vehicle, the software identifies the driver by their key fob and automatically adjusts.
The testing phase of the software process, while vital, is not always the most exciting phase for an engineer. However, both John and Tom would disagree when discussing these particular projects. Tom had the thrill of driving large industrial trucks with wheels measuring nearly six feet tall while John test drove Corvettes on an open desert driving course.