Universal modular experiment and instrumentation software for electronic control unit (ECU) development

ControlDesk is the dSPACE experiment software for seamless ECU development. It performs all the necessary tasks and gives you a single working environment, from the start of experimentation right to the end.

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Application Areas

ControlDesk can be used for tasks like these:

  • Rapid control prototyping (RCP; fullpass, bypass)
  • Hardware-in-the-loop simulation (HIL)
  • ECU measurement, calibration, and diagnostics
  • Access to vehicle bus systems (CAN, CAN FD, LIN, Ethernet)
  • Virtual validation with VEOS and SCALEXIO

Key Benefits

ControlDesk unites functionalities that often require several specialized tools. It provides access to simulation platforms as well as to connected bus systems and can perform measurement, calibration and diagnostics on ECUs, e.g., via standardized ASAM interfaces.
Its flexible modular structure provides high scalability to meet the requirements of specific application cases. This gives you clear advantages in terms of handling, the amount of training needed, the required computing power, and costs.


Software-in-the loop (SIL) testing

ControlDesk is part of the dSPACE SIL testing solution for PC- and cloud-based simulation.
Click to find out more.

Versions Description

The main version of ControlDesk for creating and running experiments, and for accessing dSPACE real‑time hardware and VEOS. The functionality can be extended by optional software modules.

  • Same tool for rapid control prototyping, HIL simulation, offline simulation, ECU calibration, and diagnostics
  • Easy creation of layouts and instruments
  • Synchronous measurement on all data sources
  • Integrated project and experiment management
  • Integrated measurement data management (ASAM MDF 4.1)
  • Compatibility with several ASAM standards (such as ASAM MDF, XCP, CCP, ASAP2, ODX)
  • Powerful tool automation capabilities for user-specific extensions and optimal process integration
  • Operator mode (protects your projects and experiments against unauthorized changes)
  • Support of virtual validation test scenarios with dSPACE VEOS and SCALEXIO
  • Built-in access to all dSPACE real-time hardware platforms
  • Support of variable mapping according to ASAM XIL to decouple variables of experiment and simulation model (as of ControlDesk 23.1)
ControlDesk – Operator Version1)

A version of ControlDesk that provides only a subset of functionality for running existing experiments. The functionality can be extended by optional software modules.

  • Built-in access to third-party test benches and other hardware by using an ASAM XIL API MAPort server
  • Built-in automation functionality using the ASAM MCD-3 standard tool for rapid control prototyping, HIL simulation, offline simulation, ECU calibration, and diagnostics
  • For using projects and experiment data that were already created with the standard ControlDesk version
  • Protection against altering and creating projects and experiments
  • Built-in access to all dSPACE real-time hardware platforms



Additional Modules Description
ECU Interface Module

An optional software module for ControlDesk for calibration and measurement access to electronic control units (ECUs). The module is also required for calibration and measurement access to virtual ECUs (V‑ECUs) used in SIL testing scenarios.

  • CCP (CAN Calibration Protocol)
  • XCP on CAN, XCP on CAN FD, XCP on Ethernet2) (TCP/IP and UDP/IP)
  • Support of structured data types as specified in ASAM A2L 1.7
ECU Diagnostics Modul

An optional software module for ControlDesk that facilitates the calibration and validation of ECU diagnostic functions.

  • Support of the ODX database standard (ASAM MCD-2D v2.0.1 and v2.2.0 (ISO 22901-1))
  • Support of ISO protocols for CAN, CAN FD, K-Line, and Ethernet
  • Dedicated instruments for executing diagnostic services and reading or clearing the ECU fault memory
  • ECU flash programming via diagnostic interfaces
  • Support of ASAM MCD-3D v2.0.2
Signal Editor Module3)

An optional software module for ControlDesk for the graphical definition and execution of signal generators for stimulating model variables of real-time/offline simulation applications.

  • For graphical stimulus definition
  • Time-synchronous stimulus generation on dSPACE real-time hardware and in Simulink models simulated in dSPACE VEOS
  • Replaying measured data
  • Multiple stimulus patterns can be executed independently
  • Support of the XIL API stimulus format (STZ files, i.e., zipped STI files)
Bus Navigator Module4)

An optional software module for ControlDesk for handling bus messages, such as CAN, LIN, and FlexRay messages, frames, and PDUs and Ethernet packets.

  • Support of CAN, CAN FD, LIN, Flexray and Ethernet buses
  • Dedicated instruments for CAN, CAN FD, LIN, Flexray and Ethernet bus objects
  • Replaying recorded CAN and CAN FD messages
  • Replaying Ethernet communication
  • CAN, CAN FD, and LIN monitoring and logging for dSPACE hardware, dSPACE VEOS, and PC bus interfaces
  • Ethernet bus monitoring (dSPACE SCALEXIO, Vector interfaces, Ethernet interfaces of PCs including loopback)
  • CAN bus statistics
  • LIN bus statistics


1) MCD-3 automation functionality not supported.
2) Also for access to simulated virtual ECUs.
3) Signal generation not supported for the DS1104.
4) New with ControlDesk 22.2: the CONTROLDESK_BNV license can be used alone as Bus Navigator (stand-alone).

5) FlexRay not supported in Bus Navigator (stand-alone).

Documentation Contact Information

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