The Integrated Approach

Published: June 13, 2019

Frank Schmidtmeier, Product Manager Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing Systems, dSPACE GmbH

The shift in the automotive industry towards safe and efficient transportation through electrification and autonomous driving is advancing in great strides. Development tasks are becoming more complex and increasingly challenging. At the same time, the time to market is getting shorter, driven by new players in the market.

To succeed in this dynamic environment, you have to continuously optimize development and validation processes to make sure you reach your development goals in time.

Therefore, you need established and reliable development and test systems that provide the functionality and performance you want, while being flexible and extensible enough to respond to changing requirements. In particular, the key development and test systems – rapid control prototyping (RCP) and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) systems – play an important role during the development and validation of your systems and will continue to do so in the future.

Our Approach

SCALEXIO addresses all kinds of applications, from small to large, as a laboratory system as well as an in-vehicle system.

The dSPACE solution to these daunting challenges is what we call an integrated approach. This integrated approach is based on a SCALEXIO system that comprises both hardware and software components as one integrated system. This core system ensures the highest level of performance and reliability required of a closed-loop, real-time development and test platform for developing highly complex, fail-safe, and safety-critical systems. SCALEXIO provides a wide range of functionalities that address all kinds of applications, from small to large. The core system is complemented by a wide selection of hardware with processing and I/O capabilities as well as standardized network and communication interfaces, making the system even more versatile.  


As a one-stop supplier for hardware-in-the-loop simulators, dSPACE offers a complete and seamless tool chain for ECU testing. The tool chain supports all vehicle domains and ranges from component tests to system integration testing.

Ready-to-Use System

SCALEXIO offers a wide variety of I/O functions to support many different applications

The greatest benefit of this integrated approach is that you get a ready-to-use and reliable system that gives you a competitive edge in development right from the get-go.

The wide range of functions lets you quickly create your application and easily integrate existing model parts. The dSPACE software allows for an easy configuration and assignment of connections between the dSPACE system hardware and an electronic control unit (ECU) under test or a physical system. You can define the behavior of the programmable I/O boards and swiftly connect them to the behavior model in the modeling environment, such as Simulink® and others.

In addition to the basic I/O functions (analog and digital I/O), advanced functions such as wheel speed simulation, waveform generation, or signal capture functions with oversampling capabilities are also included to generate or capture all kinds of voltage or current signals. You simply start by choosing an I/O function and adding the hardware channel or vice versa. You can also use freely programmable FPGAs to implement custom functions and run model parts that require fast feedback. A wide range of integrated bus communication protocols lets you complete the I/O functions. To execute these easily configured applications, you can simply start the one-click build process that compiles the application, I/O, and communication interfaces, deploying them onto the dSPACE system.

The dSPACE SCALEXIO architecture provides a comprehensive solution that gives you an out-of-the-box deployable system and unmatched performance with ease and efficiency.


As a one-stop-supplier, we are in a unique position to test and optimize the entire system to meet the challenges of demanding applications. We follow through on our promise of high system performance and reliability. If you use a system with components from different suppliers, even a seemingly simple update to a new software version or adding another hardware board can wreak havoc on your system. If the compatibility of all the components has not been tested, you simply cannot ensure the critical deterministic behavior of the system. In an integrated platform approach, it is possible for us to test each hardware and software component of the system, including third-party components, to provide deterministic and highly reliable performance.

Availability & Longevity

In addition to reliability, the availability and extensibility of a system play an important role when choosing a development platform. Therefore, we offer very scalable and flexible RCP and HIL systems. When we start to design and develop our systems and components, we already make sure that they will be available for a long time. Your benefit: You can typically use our systems for more than a decade.

For example, if the interface for a sensor changes from analog to digital, or a CAN FD interface is required instead of CAN in a new ECU generation, the only thing you have to do in most cases is a simple software-based reconfiguration. The configuration software even allows you to easily switch between the legacy and new systems, letting you make the most of your development assets. Even if you were to need new hardware components, they can be easily integrated into the system, because hardware and software compatibility is always ensured.
dSPACE has an established product life cycle management system that informs you long before a product is discontinued, and we provide easy migration to ensure planning and investment security.

When we engage with our customers, they let us know time and again that the reliability and longevity of our products are the key factors in their decision to acquire new systems from dSPACE.

Global Support

Your advantage as a dSPACE customer is that we, as a systems manufacturer, provide worldwide system-level support. If a problem occurs, you only need a single contact from dSPACE Support in your region.

You do not have to worry about which component of the system is the cause of the problem. As a one-stop supplier, we support you with a single contact for all hardware and software components in a system. An integrated approach means having a single point of responsibility, easy and quick resolution of an issue, and quickly getting back to the productive development tasks.

Flexibility Through Standards

Standardized interfaces decouple the test systems from test cases, test automation and plant models. This makes it easy to reuse tests and test artifacts under different test constellations.

Simulation Software and Models

With the integrated approach, we combine the high system performance and reliability you expect with the flexibility you need. In addition to providing modular and versatile hardware, we rely on standardized interfaces that do not compromise system performance and reliability, while still providing the flexibility you need to easily execute various applications on our systems.

In addition to the direct integration of Simulink, you benefit from a wide selection of simulation software and models to create your application. You can choose the best-in-class tool for each application field and still run an integrated, high-performance simulation of the entire system on the dSPACE real-time hardware. Even a combination of models or model parts from different vendors is easy to handle.

We also offer our own simulation models – dSPACE Automotive Simulation Models (ASM). These Simulink-based, open models are well integrated into the system and have been tested for real-time execution, reducing any optimization efforts to a minimum.

Here is an excerpt of models and tools that have been used on our systems:

  • Customers’ own models or third-party models provided in MATLAB®/Simulink/Stateflow® from MathWorks®
  • enDYNA and veDYNA from TESIS DYNAware
  • CarSim, TruckSim from Mechanical Simulation Corporation (MSC)
  • Models based on physical modeling libraries from MathWorks (e.g., Simscape Electrical™ (Specialized Power Systems), SimDriveline™)
  • Dymola from Dassault Systèmes
  • SimulationX® from ITI
  • MapleSim™ from Maplesoft™
  • AMESim from LMS®
  • GT-SUITE from Gamma Technologies
  • WAVE-RT from Ricardo Software
  • C++
  • Linux-based modeling and execution solutions
  • NPSS
  • and many more

We proactively support the Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) as an established, tool-independent standard for both the exchange and co-simulation of models.

Host Interface for Test Automation

Test automation and test management play an important role – especially when you use HIL systems for verification and validation. A well-managed and automated testing process is key for high productivity and return on your investment. For example, an automated testing process enables 24/7 operation and regression testing. This requires a suitable test automation and test management tool chain. With dSPACE AutomationDesk and dSPACE SYNECT, you can benefit from an excellent, integrated tool chain for this purpose. Additionally, in order to support any existing process, dSPACE systems support the ASAM standard XIL API interface. The interface lets you access the dSPACE system from any third-party tool that also supports this standard. We are an active member of ASAM and help define standards that promote an open tool chain based on standardized interfaces.


Benefit from the reliability and flexibility of our integrated approach to tackle any challenges that lie ahead.

If you have any question, feel free to contact us.

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