As many of us continue to work from home, much of what we do is done virtually – it’s our new norm. In this blog series we’ve highlighted the possibilities this new world offers an engineer, from a virtual environment (“Automotive Testing in the Virtual World”) to calibration activities (“Virtual Calibration – Reducing Resources, Time”). Up next – virtual validation and verification.
At ETAS, validation and verification is conducted on software or calibrations developed on a test system. With pre-defined procedures and acceptance criteria that can be repeated, it allows you to see how algorithms or parameters effect a system. Occurring during the development process, it should ideally happen during each state of the V-Cycle to avoid having to repeat the process and allow for testing of the full network.
Today, some automotive OEMs test controller networks internally, while others outsource to test houses or engineering suppliers. In both scenarios, the costs involved are significant because the OEM or testing supplier needs to collect controllers from all suppliers, connect the hardware to create a network and simulate the vehicle. It’s an expensive and static process. And though it may seem simple at first, remember, we are talking about testing large networks of controllers – one vehicle can potentially have dozens of controllers and networks vary from model to model with very little crossover.
A virtual opportunity
An efficient alternative to this expensive process is a virtual vehicle with all the controllers talking to one another. By using virtual validation, you can perform development, verification and validation tasks much earlier while reducing the number of additional test systems and ECU prototypes needed. To start, you create a library of building blocks of virtual controllers used across models (e.g. window operations) each time you get input from the supplier, allowing for better testing, faster. To be successful, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Components and the simulation foundation need to be standard compliant (e.g. FMI, ASAM, XIL, etc.) for re-use of existing models and automation sequences. The same test sequence used for a physical component can be used in a virtual solution. But to validate a single controller, component suppliers will need to share the virtual ECU with the OEM or re-use – this is why being standard compliant is key. The re-use scenario allows OEMs to easily plug-and-play components to cover all vehicle variants and maintain competition among suppliers.
- Precise simulation of communication between controllers. Rather than a component supplier focusing on a single component, they will need to take the approach of OEMs – a network of communication.
- Parallelization of simulations run on-premises or the cloud, which will speed up the process because you can distribute copies of the virtual vehicle and test cases to run on different machines at the same time. What used to take significant time, can occur overnight.
- Continuous integration to speed up and automate the integration process for updates and vehicle variants. As new controllers are developed, the changes trigger a build of a new virtual vehicle – there’s no need to rebuild the entire environment.
The backbone of virtual validation and verification
ETAS’ COSYM (CO-simulation of SYsteMs) product is a simulation and integration platform acting as the backbone of system SiLs to facilitate communication between ECUs and enabling OEMs to act as virtual vehicle integrators. Once OEMs have developed their library of building blocks, COSYM will integrate them, connect interfaces and allow controllers to precisely talk to one another. By synchronizing the simulation, COSYM’s “timing master” tells each controller when it can act.
With ETAS’ expertise, the virtualization of validation and verification will result in better testing, faster. It’s another solution in our continuous development of our new world of working from home. Set up a virtual vehicle, put in the virtual controllers and let he work begin – all with little human oversight. In our next blog, we’ll focus on software engineering and the critical role it plays in all virtual testing and calibration activities.
If you want to learn more about COSYM or virtual validation and verification, contact us.
Part 4 of this series: “The Keys to it All – the Virtual ECU and Software Engineering”