Embedded Software and Hardware Validation of Automotive Engine Control Unit With a Flexible Real-Time and Full-Power Test Platform

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"We managed to design and deploy a single test equipment that covers either Power Run-in continous monitoring and HIL tests, requiring minimal (zero) setup time."

- Andrea Marta, IPR SYSTEMS

The Challenge:
Creating a rugged real-time test bench, with automotive rated analog I/Os and multiple/different automotive networks, capable of full-power reliabily and endurance tests, at a competitive cost.

The Solution:
Developing a test system based on a real-time architecture based on standard NI PXI platform; VeriStand software environment effectively allowed to combine our Power Run-in test know-how and embedded software (HIL) validation methodology.

Author(s):
Andrea Marta - IPR SYSTEMS

The Real Time Continuous monitoring (RT CM), is built of two parts, the upper and lower ones. The upper part has 16 independent modules that each feature:

• Automotive compliant analog outputs (-2 to 16 Volt) able to drive up to 200 mA.
• Extended range analog inputs ((± 20 V)
• Variable resistive load for high power driver testing

We scaled and protected analog resources using a conditioning board that we developed to balance channel mix and total cost of the bench.

The lower part of the bench contains four controller area network (CAN) high/low-speed ports and four LIN ports; furthermore, a power supply simulates vehicle battery at an extended range (from 0 to 20 V with a maximum current of 150A).

The PXI can run both Real Time Operative System and Windows in a dual boot configuration, so end user can execute real time and simulation tests (HIL) or continuous monitoring application just selecting the desired boot option. Such flexibility in switching test capabilities is not an existing  test benches standard feature; it is one of the most appreciated benefit of the solution because the need, at R&D departments, for addressing requirements that range from hardware validation to embedded software components test.

We used VeriStand to develop test sequences and workspaces. The bench is supplied with a void project containing workspace variables declaration and aliases suited  to link test sequence/profiles to the hardware. Thanks to XNET (CAN and LIN) and VeriStand integraton, developers can easily implement RestBus and Model-based Simulation; customizing the projects by importing CAN databases and/or importing simulation models. After this phase, they can develop real-time sequences autonomously, execute them, and analyze test data. The VeriStand framework automatically generates a test report at the end of the sequence execution. Developers can also log test data for post processing analysis (stored in open ad optimized TDMS file format).

Results
VeriStand helped us to dramatically reduce test platform development efforts. We took advantage of its scalability and configurability to avoid coding and validating many feature of a real-time software platform such as the host-target communication and advanced data logging, which saved time. NI PXI with dual boot controllers and Veristand let us build a single test system that address either continous monitoring and HIL, switching between test modes in minimal (zero) setup time.

Author Information:
Andrea Marta
IPR SYSTEMS

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