Building an Automated Onboard Vehicle Infotainment Platform Test System Using TestStand and PXI

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"LabVIEW and TestStand, together with NI PXI hardware and our skilled engineers, helped us in limited time develop an automated test for a high-complexity infotainment system. The graphical programming approach was a key element for our technical experts to satisfy stringent specifications in a short time."

- Ing. Mgr. Márk Jónás, ANV s.r.o, CEO

The Challenge:
We needed to design a new functional tester for car infotainment systems containing multiple modules and communication channels, such as WiFi, USB, CAN, Bluetooth, DAB, RDS, and GPS.

The Solution:
We used the universal PXI hardware platform to design space-saving and well-optimized test systems that test the complete infotainment system in three phases. By combining modules such as RF transceiver, CAN interface, digital I/O, audio analyzer, and more, we covered all the requirements of the specification using LabVIEW software and TestStand software.

Author(s):
Ing. Mgr. Márk Jónás - ANV s.r.o, CEO


Test System

From the start, ANV has focused on the design and production of test, control, and monitoring systems. We have always looked for the right technology to cover a wide range of applications. We have also involved a group of qualified engineers. The path we chose together with NI has proven to be the most appropriate alternative in terms of efficiency and broad portfolio. We also took advantage of the opportunity to apply for the NI Alliance Partner Network program as soon as possible. Our customers are medium and large companies active in the automotive and electrical industries.

One of our priority interests was to extend tester production for the RF area. We wanted to develop a test system for the onboard vehicle infotainment platform (OVIP), which could verify our ability to adopt new knowledge and create outstanding value. For our customer, we needed to find a partner that met the demanding criteria of reliability in this challenging project. Our previous successful projects and membership in the NI Alliance Partner Network helped us secure a local partnership with one of the biggest automotive companies worldwide.

Due to time-consuming functional test procedures, we divided the whole testing process into four phases. For the first phase, or the preparatory phase, we needed to test the DUT with an in-circuit tester and program the master control unit and the GPS receiver. Subsequently, we assembled the product, which consists of multiple PCB boards, into a set. 

In the second phase, we tested the assembled product on the first station, which tests the correct functionality of audio interfaces, FM radio, LVDS, and GPS/GLONASS receiver. Next, the module moves to a second station that tests the functionality of USB, TMC tuner, DAB radio, AM radio, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The third and last station checks that the communication interfaces, security features, and the module are set in the default settings. Each of these tests consist of several specific test modules. For example, in an audio test, we must measure power for each channel, audio level, THD, SNR, frequency response, or cross-talk between channels. Alternatively, the GNSS test generates a GPS/GLONASS signal and verifies the time-to-first-fix, clock drift, clock offset, and RTC. We must also note that the infotainment system is a product with a wide range of subsystems that can be controlled and communicated with many other modules located in the car. We need to simulate its working environment, which is communicated by the CAN bus. Thus, we had to implement a CAN-based communication software module, which we reused many times in the project. We solved these challenging tasks by using toolkits from NI, such as the WLAN Test Toolkit, the GPS Simulation Toolkit, the Sound and Vibration Toolkit, and the Automotive Diagnostic Command Set Toolkit.

From the beginning, our primary goal was to achieve the highest measurement device utilization. We chose a parallel process model so we could test two products at a time. Thanks to the TestStand optimization and test platform, we achieved time distribution of individual steps so that both DUTs are utilized during the test at 98 percent. We benefitted from the NI platform to successfully complete this project. Through the software and the hardware side, we could cover almost all the requirements of the specification to avoid complications of incompatibility. Thanks to the graphical programming in LabVIEW and the NI toolkits, we have shortened the development time by two months from the original estimate.

 

Author Information:
Ing. Mgr. Márk Jónás
ANV s.r.o, CEO
Ilkovičova 3
Bratislava 841 04
Slovakia
Tel: +421 948 445 567
mark.jonas@anv-tech.com

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