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Using an RCP System as a Flexible Experimental ECU

If a new ECU or a new set of control functions has to be developed from scratch, often different control strategies have to be tested, modified and benchmarked against each other to find the optimal solution. In order to accelerate the development, quick trials have to be run at an early stage. Tests in a vehicle or on a test bench have to be carried out even before the new ECU hardware is available. Producing an application-specific prototype ECU for this purpose, e.g., by modifying a production ECU, would be expensive, time consuming and inflexible. Instead, developers can use a powerful off-the-shelf RCP system which acts as an experimental ECU, but which has many advantages. The dSPACE RCP systems allow developers to concentrate completely on the new function design without having to worry about computing power and memory space – the system offers plenty of both, ensuring maximum flexibility. Unlike a production-type ECU, programming a dSPACE RCP system is easy. This makes it particularly convenient to change ECU function designs without having to do manual programming. A wide range of I/O interfaces can be configured and easily integrated into the function model by means of a comprehensive graphical I/O block library, the RTI software. Automatic code generation allows the physical implementation on the RCP system at the click of a button. For evaluation and calibration issues parameters of the control function can be changed and signals can be captured on-the-fly by using ControlDesk®. This procedure provides very short iteration times.

  dSPACE RCP System ECU
Processor Scalable, floating-point, high processing power Optimized (i.e., limited) for target application; low processing power
Memory Large Limited
I/O Flexible, modular, configurable Application-specific, fixed
Signal conditioning and power Flexible, modular, configurable Application-specific, fixed
Size All sizes from small to fairly large, depending on use Small
Programming Easy and intuitive Target-dependent tool environment, complex

Connecting Sensors and Actuators

Signal conditioning and power stages are essential for the optimal connection of sensors and actuators to RCP systems. To cover today’s variety of sensors and actuators, dSPACE offers the RapidPro hardware as an optional extension to a dSPACE RCP system. The very compact, robust and modular RapidPro hardware consists of ready-made and easy-to-insert hardware- and software-configurable I/O-interfaces for the highest degree of flexibility. Changes in the sensor-actuator setup are no longer a risk for your development project, and home-made solutions are no longer necessary.