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Virtual Validation
  • Validate ECU software much earlier by using virtual ECUs (V-ECUs)
  • Reuse V-ECUs for restbus simulation in hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) tests with a real ECU
  • Use identical tools throughout the entire development process
  • Openness through support of automotive standards
The technology of virtual validation means:
  • Running PC-based simulations to validate, verify and test ECU software in the form of V-ECUs with no other hardware
  • Preparing HIL tests and scenarios on a PC
  • Using V-ECUs in HIL simulation if the ECU hardware prototype is not available yet
By using virtual validation, you can perform development, verification and validation tasks much earlier. You also reduce the number of necessary additional test systems and ECU prototypes. This answers the need for early simulation that the automotive and aerospace industries are currently facing.
dSPACE tools cover all your virtual validation requirements: SystemDesk® for generating virtual ECUs (V-ECUs) from the ECU software architecture, VEOS® for PC-based simulation,  and SCALEXIO and the MicroAutoBox for real-time simulation.
Application Areas
Virtual validation has application areas throughout the whole ECU software development process.
  • Function development: To test new functions, you can create a V-ECU with just the application SWCs and load it into VEOS for software-in-the-loop and processor-in-the-loop simulations with realistic plant models.
  • Software integration: For early validation, you can integrate several V-ECUs, including basic software components, and perform functional tests.
  • Hardware-in-the-loop preparation and tests: With VEOS, you can set up, parameterize and test plant models and also run automated tests for HIL simulation, without actually using a HIL system. V-ECUs can also be used to perform high-quality CAN restbus simulation.
Key Benefits
You can develop and test complex new functions in a totally virtual environment instead of on expensive test benches.
  • You can simulate a whole ECU on a PC before a prototype is available – by combining the operating system and the ECU’s basic software components to create a virtual ECU.
  • You can prepare simulation models and test libraries on a developer PC, reducing your preparation time on the HIL simulator.
  • After running simulations on your PC, you can reuse the models and V-ECUs on a HIL system. The experiment software for instrumenting and controlling the HIL simulation can also be used for PC-based simulation. 

A virtual ECU (V-ECU) is software that emulates a real ECU in a simulation scenario. The V-ECU comprises components from the application and the basic software, and provides functionalities comparable to those of a real ECU. Unlike a soft ECU, which uses only a simplified Simulink®/Stateflow® model, a V-ECU usually has the same software components as the finished ECU. There is no strict dividing line between a soft ECU and a V-ECU, but a V-ECU generally represents the real ECU more realistically.
The abstraction level of a V-ECU depends on its application case:
  • V-ECUs for developing a single ECU function (contain selected parts of the application software; the RTE and necessary parts of the basic software are provided automatically)
  • V-ECUs at application level (application software components, RTE, operating system)
  • V-ECUs including parts of basic software (application software components, RTE, operating system, hardware-independent basic software such as DEM, NVRAM, ECU State Manager, COM, etc.)
Generation of a V-ECU
There are two ways to create a V-ECU, depending on the starting point and project needs, and on whether the development is based on AUTOSAR:
  • Function and software developers who just have single components can create a V-ECU directly with Simulink® or TargetLink®. The result is a simple V-ECU with only a selected part of the ECU software’s application layer. It enables basic function tests.
  • Software integrators who want to test a more complex network of functions can combine software components, functions or just legacy code from different sources in SystemDesk to create the ECU’s software architecture. Then they use the SystemDesk V-ECU Generation Module to make a full V-ECU. In addition to the application layer, this also contains the run-time environment (RTE) and optional basic software. The V-ECUs can be reused throughout the whole ECU development process for PC-based simulation with VEOS and hardware-in-the-loop simulation with SCALEXIO.

VEOS can easily be integrated in your existing tool chain, as it supports automotive standards. So when you add VEOS to your rapid control prototyping or HIL tool chain to perform PC-based simulation, you can keep your existing tools. By deciding to use dSPACE software and hardware, you gain high flexibility and investment protection for new projects and challenges.

In July 2009, ASAM (Association for Standardisation of
Automation and Measuring Systems) released the new HIL API standard, defining an interface to connect test automation tools like AutomationDesk with any simulation platform, such as VEOS or SCALEXIO. The standard enables truly platform-independent test development.

The AUTOSAR Standard
AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) is a de-facto open industry standard for automotive electric/electronic (E/E) architectures. For example, it defines the interfaces of the ECU software, enabling the seamless use of V-ECUs with different simulation platforms.

dSPACE joined the AUTOSAR partnership as a Premium Member in April 2004 and is active in defining and developing parts of the architecture and its specifications.

Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI)

The Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) is an open standard for the exchange and integration of plant models provided by different tool vendors. dSPACE has signed the Codex of PLM Openness and works actively in the ProSTEP Smart Systems Engineering project and the Modelica Association FMI project to further develop the FMI standard. Through these activities dSPACE gathers the necessary knowledge and insights to support our customers in projects using FMI.

Virtual Validation Demo Videos


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