dSPACE SystemDesk offers the export of virtual ECUs in Functional Mock-up Unit (FMU) format, making the communication of V-ECUs between various simulation platforms easier.

Know Earlier What Is Possible – Thanks to V-ECUs

In order to efficiently manage the development of ECU software, it is helpful to be able to test and simulate the interim results as early as possible.  Here, virtual control units (V-ECUs) come into play, which make the functions of control unit software testable at an early stage and which facilitate error detection in early development phases.  With dSPACE SystemDesk, V-ECUs can be generated during ECU software development from the existing artifacts, for example, communications matrices, application source code, basic software, or architecture description in ARXML format, and these can be tested in realistic simulation scenarios with integration of the environment such as restbus or further V-ECUs. 

Depending on the complexity and integration status, the behavior of the V-ECUs exported from SystemDesk is more or less realistic.

Free Choice of the Simulation Platform for V-ECU FMUs
The virtual ECUs exported from SystemDesk can be easily exchanged and used for simulation on other platforms.

Free Choice of the Simulation Platform for V-ECU FMUs

Since ECU prototypes incur additional costs and are often not available until later in the development process, virtual ECUs are a sought-after artifact in the OEM-Tier 1 relationship. V-ECUs can be more flexibly implemented than real ECU prototypes, in particular since they are easily scalable and reproducible, and because they can be run locally on PCs or in the cloud.  By means of the newly created option to export ECUs as V-ECU FMUs based on the industry-wide FMI standard, the V-ECU FMUs can be easily used on any simulation platform which is FMI-compatible.  This eliminates the need to laboriously port V-ECUs in dSPACE format for the partner's new target platform, for example as an FMU, which used to be the case when both parties did not use the dSPACE software-in-the-loop tool chain with SystemDesk and dSPACE VEOS. Interchangeability and sharing of V-ECUs is important to many of our customers. For this reason, SystemDesk V-ECU-FMUs are 100% FMI-compliant, do not use proprietary interfaces, and therefore offer maximum compatibility with numerous simulation platforms.

FMI Expertise Is Not Necessary

To export virtual ECUs as V-ECU FMUs, the SystemDesk user does not need to have extensive FMI knowledge. The necessary mapping between the basic software, the Functional Mock-up Interface, and, if required, the AUTOSAR architecture is automated in SystemDesk, so it does not make much difference to the procedure which type of V-ECU is created.

Compared with dSPACE V-ECUs, the functional range of V-ECU FMUs is restricted due to limitations in the FMI interface. Communication of the V-ECU FMUs is done using simple data type signals, so the bus simulation is less realistic. On the other hand, multiple other functions of the dSPACE V-ECUs are supported, especially for sending CAN messages, which is made possible by mapping CAN signals to FMI variables using SystemDesk V-ECU FMUs.

Regardless of whether V-ECUs or V-ECU FMUs are exported from SystemDesk, the workflow remains the same.

We Are Working on the Layered Standard

With Version 3.0, a major improvement of the FMI interface was released in 2022, which addresses the numerous limitations for the use of V-ECU FMUs. dSPACE SystemDesk supports each latest FMI standard and will also support future versions of FMI. 

dSPACE is part of the FMI Steering Committee and is working together with other partners on a layered standard for V-ECU FMUs that covers different areas. The objective is to eliminate the last limitations in the area of automotive bus systems and the time-accurate simulation of virtual ECUs. This ensures very high accuracy in the simulation of V-ECU FMUs for our customers, as well as maximum compatibility of the interface. Furthermore, dSPACE is taking the lead in ensuring that FMI 3.0 is supplemented with an integration of the XCP standard.

Kevin Reim

Kevin Reim

Software Developer, Production Software & SIL Simulation, dSPACE GmbH

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