Today's function development for electronic control units (ECUs) is a complex task in which new functions often have to be tested in real units under test or in the vehicle. Real test benches do allow detailed tests and calculations, but they are cost-intensive and cannot always be adjusted to meet changing demands. In addition, the test benches are not always available to all the developers who need to test new controllers.
Since all function developers have a PC, using it for function tests is a rather pragmatic approach. The simulation platform dSPACE VEOS turns the PC into a personal virtual test bench, including simulation models and virtual ECUs.
The PC-based simulation of engine effects is accurate enough to test ECU functions in a realistic context. If more complex models have to be used for function validation, the Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) standard can be used to integrate computational engineering tools into VEOS.
To meet the stricter requirements for fuel consumption, new control functions have to be used, such as a fully-variable valve train. However, the new freedom to control valve opening and closing times and the valve lift involves extra work when developing and calibrating engine control functions. With VEOS, functions can first be tested on a PC by using virtual motor models. The design engineer can use special models that HIL test engineers already validated in numerous test runs on a HIL simulator. In addition, the dSPACE experiment software ControlDesk offers photo-realistic layouts that can be used interactively during running simulations on a PC. The variables and the calibration parameters of the controller and of the controlled system can therefore be accessed during simulation, so they can be integrated effortlessly into an automation or optimization process. The first test drives with new functions can be performed purely virtually before going onto the actual test bench or into the vehicle.