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Environment Sensor Interface Unit

Feeding digital data into camera, radar and lidar ECUs

Systems for autonomous driving use multiple environment sensors. To simulate the sensors in a HIL setup for sensor fusion and function testing, it is essential to accurately synchronize the stimulation of the individual sensors. The dSPACE Environment Sensor Interface Unit supports the time-correlated feeding of raw sensor data to one or more sensor ECUs.  

Application Areas

For the development and validation of environment sensors, e.g., radar, camera and lidar, and more generally the validation of ADAS/AD functions, support for a range of ECU interfaces for data insertion is essential. In addition to testing based on over-the-air methods and object lists, the insertion of raw data or target lists is of utmost importance for the validation of perception and fusion algorithms that are based on raw data. The Environment Sensor Interface (ESI) Unit supports all relevant sensor interfaces and is eminent for closed-loop and open-loop testing. Advanced sensor simulation in combination with the ESI Unit makes it easy to provide synthetic sensor data under realistic conditions and with low latencies. This is useful for validating functions for autonomous driving in hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation, in both closed- and open-loop scenarios. If RTMaps is used as well, the data recorded by the ESI Unit can be conveniently replayed.


Key Benefits

The Environment Sensor Interface Unit supports the injection of raw data and target lists for HIL tests of camera, radar, and lidar ECUs as well as of central processing units for autonomous driving. Due to its flexible and scalable architecture, the ESI Unit supports lidar point cloud data injection via 10 Gigabit Ethernet, radar raw data injection via MIPI CSI-2, and camera raw data injection via TI FPD-Link III or Maxim GMSL. For short-range sensor interfaces like MIPI CSI-2, you can integrate an optional dSPACE plug-on device (ESI-POD). The ESI Unit seamlessly integrates into the powerful dSPACE tool chain so you can configure it in dSPACE ControlDesk.

To meet the requirements of next-generation ECUs, the ESI Unit can be configured to connect to the latest sensors. A single ESI Unit simulates up to eight sensors synchronously and supports more than 50 Gbit/s of aggregated bandwidth. Multiple ESI Units combined let you test functions for autonomous driving with dozens of different sensors. Special customer requirements and functions can be implemented directly on the ESI Unit thanks to the powerful Xilinx® UltraScale+™ FPGA. 

Parameter Specification


  • Xilinx® Zynq® UltraScale+™ FPGA with an aggregated data rate of up to 50 Gbit/s


  • 8 GB RAM, 4 GByte flash memory
Sensor interfaces
  • TI FPD-Link III, Maxim GMSL, MIPI CSI-2, HiSPI, LVDS, Parallel (up to 6 Gbit/s)
  • 1G/10G Ethernet, GigE Vision1), Ethernet AVB1)
  • Simulation of control interface to sensor ECU (e.g., I2C, SPI)
  • Customer-specific interfaces on request
Input interfaces
  • Up to four DisplayPort or HDMI inputs (up to 17 Gbit/s, 4k resolution, and 120 Hz per input), 10G Ethernet
  • 19'' rack-mount version
  • 2 height units (H)
  • Active cooling
Power supply
  • 24 V DC
  • 3.8 kg (8.4 lb)
  • 448.9 x 255.5 x 88.1 mm (17.7 x 10.1 x 3.5 in)
  • High dynamic range (HDR) with up to 24 bits, up to 4k resolution, high frame rates, stereo or multiple camera setups
  • Detection list (point cloud), raw data (ADC data) injection including multipath propagation, reflection, and scattering
  • Extended point cloud injection including information like distance, reflectivity, azimuth, and elevation angle


1)  Available on request.

Use Cases