July 31, 2017
So Volvo announces that its cars will be all electric or hybrid from 2019. France plans to ban sales of gas and diesel cars by 2040. Other nations may, too. Ergo, you have work to do. More electric motors means more embedded systems. But testing and validating automotive embedded control systems means overreliance on dynamometers and complex, expensive field testing. Simulation can help speed the process, reduce the number of field tests and lower costs.
The “Hardware-in-the-Loop Resource Kit” from National Instruments explores how smart, integrated hardware and software combinations can help developers of embedded control systems and test engineers deal with testing challenges as well as nemeses like “time to market” and “cost-effectively.” It’s an impressive ZIP file array of five concise PDFs covering what you need to know whether you’re into HIL already or it’s something you must learn about fast.
Two PDFs are particularly notable. Both are moderately tech-level tutorials. They are well illustrated and provide multiple links to supplementary data and explanatory reading.
“Hardware in the Loop Testing for Power Electronics Systems” examines the testing challenges posed by electric drive engine control units (ECUs). The brief is that traditional, processor-based HIL testing isn’t fast enough for the job. Described is an HIL test system approach using FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) coupled with dedicated software fast enough to provide high-fidelity simulation models–on the order of 1 μs–for simulating electric motor behavior adequately. This can help you spot troubles, say transients and fault conditions, then optimize performance from early in the development process.
Newbies may want to read “Architectures for Implementing a Hardware in the Loop System” first. It’s the cornerstone piece. The idea here is that running all the tests on a complete embedded control system is a no-go for reasons like cost and safety. HIL simulations enable you to test those knotty parts of your embedded control device exhaustively before field testing. Topics addressed include components, wiring, testing systems with multiple ECUs and implementing your HIL system.
The “Hardware-in-the-Loop Resource Kit” also provides documents on HIL testing tools, VeriStand HIL software and a training course catalog. In short, it’s the full enchilada. Regardless of your level of expertise, if you develop and test embedded control subsystems for automotive and green energy applications, this is a must-have knowledge base. Hit today’s Check it Out link to download your copy.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, DE