Today, simple unit or module tests are no longer sufficient for function validation, because new ECU functions are becoming more and more complex. Some control functions have to be integrated together with the ECU basic software to validate the overall behavior of the ECU software and test it together with other ECUs. At the same time, corrected functions must also be easy to integrate into the overall system and easy to test. This is where real ECU prototypes reach their limits because the flash process required to update them is very time-consuming.
Virtual electronic control units (V-ECUs) provide a more flexible approach. They are generated directly on the developer PC and, to a large extent, contain the same software components and basic software as the final ECU prototype. Software changes and updates can therefore be integrated quickly at any time. With the PC-based simulation platform dSPACE VEOS, you can validate the overall behavior of the software by using virtual ECUs. Realistic plant models are easy to integrate for software-in-the-loop simulation.
For the development of an ACC (adaptive cruise control) ECU for automatic distance and speed control, three components are integrated into one virtual electronic control unit: distance control, preceding vehicle detection, and user interface control. When testing the interaction of these three components, an error in the distance control is detected and corrected. Since the build process for the generation of V-ECUs is executed entirely on the developer PC, updating the overall system with new functions is easy. At the same time, the simulation itself is performed in a very realistic test environment, because VEOS uses the same vehicle dynamics models for the closed-loop simulation as are used in HIL simulation. The test scenarios can also be easily reproduced after each correction until the desired behavior of the ECU is achieved.