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Test Benches

Testing electronic control units at a mechanical level

ECUs that cannot be accessed by means of their electrical interfaces can be tested with the highly dynamic dSPACE test benches. The turn-key solutions can be optimally adapted to your specific requirements, letting you use mechanical loads and physically stimulated ECUs for testing. 


If an electronic control unit (ECU) cannot be accessed by its electric interfaces for hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation, it has to be stimulated by another physical signal. This is often the case when it comes to testing complex mechatronic systems in vehicle dynamics applications, such as steering and braking. To achieve a realistic behavior of the components to be tested, HIL simulation at mechanical power level requires a test bench that uses real parts, such as an electric motor or mechanical loads that match those in the real vehicle. Mechatronic test benches stimulate the ECU sensors and actuators with physical signals.

Key Benefits

dSPACE offers turn-key system solutions that are optimally adapted to your specific needs and allow for closed-loop tests also at a mechanical level. At dSPACE, you get all the components you need from a single source. The mechatronic test benches allow for the evaluation of complex systems in real time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. dSPACE’s hardware offers the required scalability, real-time performance, I/O interfaces, and a powerful tool chain to control a complete test bench from Simulink®. Moreover, one test bench characteristic stands out in particular: dynamics. Our customers often report that dSPACE test benches surpass their expectations regarding control dynamics and accuracy.

Choose a mechatronic test bench from dSPACE and benefit from the numerous strengths our systems have to offer, such as:

  • Outstanding real-time behavior (latency, jitter, synchronization even for multiprocessor systems)
  • Open flexible implementation and instrumentation environment
  • Open automotive plant models for closed-loop interaction
  • Turn-key test bench concepts for different applications, such as electromechanical power steering, brake systems, electronic stability control systems, and autonomous driving
  • Customized extensions, such as environment simulation using an integrated climate chamber
  • Interfaces to all automotive buses, e.g., CAN, CAN FD, LIN, FlexRay, K-/L-Line, and automotive Ethernet
  • Automation interfaces, such as EtherCAT, PROFIBUS, CANopen, as well as proprietary interfaces and protocols, e.g., LTI Motion TWINsync for electric motor control
  • Scalable systems ranging from small rotary test benches for integration in a 19” cabinet to large test benches for testing a complete steering system

Applications with Mechatronic Test Benches from dSPACE

dSPACE offers a comprehensive portfolio for HIL simulation with mechatronic test benches for applications, such as electric power steering systems, brake boosters, and 3-D motion platforms for vehicle dynamics control systems. The following table gives an overview of possible application scenarios that use a HIL simulator together with a mechatronic test bench. 

System Type Mechatronic Test Bench Application
Steering systems Small steering test bench
  • Testing power packs of electromechanical power steering systems
Steering systems Compact steering test bench
  • Testing electromechanical power steering with servomotor on the steering column (C-EPS) or on the steering box (R-EPS)
Steering systems Rotary steering test bench
  • Testing electromechanical power steering with servomotor on the steering column (C-EPS)
  • Testing active front steering (AFS)
Steering systems Rotary steering test bench with environment simulation
  • Testing electromechanical power steering with a servomotor on the steering column (C-EPS)
Steering systems No-load steering test bench
  • Testing electromechanical power steering with servomotor on the steering column (C-EPS) or on the steering box (R-EPS)
Steering systems High-performance steering test bench
  • Testing electromechanical power steering with servomotor on the steering column (C-EPS) or on the steering box (R-EPS)
Brake systems Braking test bench
  • Testing electric brake systems
Electronic stability control systems Test bench with 3-D motion platform
  • Testing ECUs with integrated sensors and actuators
Advanced driver assistance systems Radar test bench
  • Testing radar-based systems and autonomous driving

Steering Test Benches

The dSPACE portfolio for steering test benches ranges from small and compact rotary test benches (e.g., for integration in a standard 19" HIL cabinet) to large, high-performance steering test benches using linear actuators for applications that require maximum dynamics and precision.

Braking Test Benches

For testing electronic brake systems under realistic operating conditions, dSPACE offers test benches with real brake system components.

Test Benches with Motion Platforms

Test benches can also include a motion platform to stimulate the ECU’s integrated sensors and actuators. These systems allow for the stimulation of acceleration sensors and yaw rate sensors that cannot be accessed otherwise.

Radar Test Bench

With the radar test bench, dSPACE offers a reliable solution for realistically testing radar-based vehicle functions using synchronized closed-loop HIL simulation.

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