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Use Case: Generating AUTOSAR V-ECUs

There are different ways to create a V-ECU, depending on the starting point and project needs, and on whether the development is based on AUTOSAR.

dSPACE provides a comprehensive tool chain for generating and using virtual ECUs (V-ECUs). A V-ECU is software that emulates a real ECU in a simulation scenario. Different V-ECU versions cover a broad range of variations – from a very simple version to a complete one that contains all components of a real ECU:

  • The simplest form of a V-ECU contains only one component for one function.
  • In a more complex version, the V-ECU includes several connected software components, e.g., the complete functionality of one ECU. Additionally, it contains the AUTOSAR Runtime Environment (RTE) and the operating system (OS) for realistic task scheduling. If needed, selected basic software components can be added, for example, to simulate bus communication or the NvRAM.
  • A V-ECU can be made even more realistic by including the real BSW code that will be used in the production ECU.

With the components of the application and the basic software, the V-ECU provides functionalities comparable to those of a real ECU. It is used for validation by PC-based simulation with VEOS or MicroAutoBox® II in in-vehicle scenarios.

dSPACE Support for V-ECUs

  • Easy generation out of a software architecture with SystemDesk
  • Automatic generation for a simple, yet functional V-ECU
  • Sophisticated adaptation possible for a more realistic V-ECU behavior

Why should I use virtual ECUs?

V-ECUs make integration tests for software components (SWCs) more realistic. New SWCs are integrated into a V-ECU and simulated with VEOS open-loop or using realistic plant models. As users do not use real ECU hardware, they can run the simulation faster than real time and can conveniently debug their functions.

Due to their broad variation range, V-ECUs cover all aspects needed for different test scenarios. They can be generated during every step of the development phase, complementing the test process. Because the generation of V-ECUs is easy to handle, users can continuously integrate new development statuses.
Another benefit of V-ECUs is the possibility for preparing hardware-in-the-loop tests. Since V-ECUs provide the same interfaces as the real ECU hardware, test layouts and configurations can be developed and tested with VEOS. Functional tests can even be frontloaded from the HIL simulator onto the PC.

How do I generate virtual ECUs?

Simple V-ECUs without any basic software can be generated with TargetLink, dSPACE’s production code generator, or Simulink. They mainly contain code for the TargetLink or Simulink model.

Generating more complex V-ECUs requires the AUTOSAR software or system architecture of the components to be included in the V-ECUs. The software or system architecture can be imported to SystemDesk in the form of an ARXML file, or the architecture can be modeled directly with the SystemDesk Modeling Module and then be used as input for V-ECU generation. Additionally, the code files implementing the software components and the corresponding A2L files are required.
SystemDesk includes comprehensive support for generating the V-ECUs from this input. It is most important that creating the V-ECUs does not take too much time. For this reason, SystemDesk provides an ECU configuration framework with several functionalities. It can configure the basic software automatically from the architecture description. For example, SystemDesk suggests a runnable-to-task mapping that even optimizes the order of the mapped runnables. Because of this automatic configuration, V-ECU generation takes just a few clicks.
On the other hand, if the V-ECUs have to be even more realistic, the result of the automatic configuration can be adapted to specific needs. Or going even further, the methods for automatic configuration themselves can be adapted. This is especially advisable if you want to include production BSW in the V-ECUs.

Who benefits from virtual ECUs?

Function and software developers benefit from V-ECUs as new or updated functions can be included automatically, continuously providing function developers with a realistic V-ECU in the early development phase. They can also use realistic environment models from HIL tests with VEOS for their validation purposes.

Software integrators can combine software components or functions from different sources in SystemDesk to generate a full V-ECU. Full V-ECUs contain the RTE and optional basic software in addition to the application layer, enabling integration tests of all components. Additionally, the software integrators can provide function and software developers with these V-ECUs for function tests.

HIL testers can reuse existing V-ECUs to frontload parts of their HIL test to a PC and perform functional test earlier. They can also prepare their HIL tests and test scenarios before taking them to the HIL simulator.

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