Happy birthday, TargetLink – 20 years and still so many plans

Published: February 15, 2019

Carsten Rustemeier, Product Manager TargetLink, dSPACE GmbH; Dr. Sascha Ridder, Product Engineer TargetLink, dSPACE GmbH; Felix Engel, Product Manager TargetLink, dSPACE GmbH

Since 1999, TargetLink and the TargetLink team at dSPACE have been helping our customers worldwide to take highly efficient code into series production safely and quickly. In 2019, we have a special reason to celebrate: TargetLink is turning 20 years. When TargetLink was first launched, our first customers, such as Nissan and MAN, were already able to significantly reduce their development times by using automatic code generation from MathWorks® Simulink® models. From today's perspective, using these models as executable specifications or automatically converting them to production code was a first important step towards improved software quality. The reason? If the settings remain unchanged, the same model always delivers the same code. Writing textual requirements for each special case was thus also a thing of the past, because as can be seen repeatedly, a model can specify these details much better and more precisely. In addition, the technologies that we take for granted today, such as software-in-the-loop and processor-in-the-loop simulations, made simple benchmarks possible for the first time: For example, users were able to compare their fixed-point C implementation on a microcontroller with the behavior specified in the original model. Thanks to the quality and efficiency of the generated code, our customers were and are using it directly for series implementation, then and now. All these benefits helped write the success story of model-based development (MBD) with TargetLink as the production code generator. Only three years after the TargetLink launch, the first aircraft operated some of its systems on TargetLink code.

At dSPACE, we have also been helping our customers develop increasingly complex control systems for the last 20 years. We help and consult with regard to the optimal application and integration of MBD into the many individual development landscapes and creatively implement the learnings in our tools. Together with our customers, we have made significant improvements to the state of technology. For example, we implemented AUTOSAR standard, developed and improved MISRA-C guidelines for model-based development, and developed safety-related functions according to IEC 61508 and, since their publication in 2011, ISO 26262 and DO-178C. Strong partners in the TargetLink Ecosystem complement the range with their innovative tools.

It all boils down to this: 20 years of experience in efficient and successful model-based development. We want to use this experience to meet future challenges such as agility, continuous delivery, IT security, or adaptive AUTOSAR with efficient development methods and to drive these developments forward. Let us take this anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on the progress of MBD, present the current state of technology, and take a look into the future. We would like to invite you to join us.

Learn about the current possibilities of model-based development and exchange ideas with us about the future of software. Visit us at our dSPACE booth at trade shows and conferences. Join dSPACE user conferences and follow our online Living MBD webinar series for an overview of best practices and challenges in model-based software development in 2019. In five webinars, we will speak about the main influences, goals, and methods in MBD, modern validation methods, and how you can frontload peer reviews to the model level. Learn more about efficient model-level architectures and how they enable distributed development as well as how AUTOSAR can effectively reduce your workload. We are looking forward to talking to you. 

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