Calibrating Automotive Electronics

ECU software is parameterized in such a manner that the behavior of control and diagnostic functions can be easily adapted to a variety of system variants or vehicle models by calibrating or modifying the characteristic values of function algorithms, without the need to change calculation routines.

Growth in memory size, number of parameters, clock frequency, and instructions per second with the evolution of engine control units

Calibration tools

Using calibration tools, characteristic values can be tuned on-the-fly while at the same time acquiring signals from ECUs, vehicle buses, and measuring devices.

Calibration requirements

Calibration, i.e., the finding of an optimized set of ECU-parameters for a new vehicle, has become a crucial element for the overall vehicle performance. It is an essential part of the development process of new engines and vehicles from the first prototypes until after SOP.

A main challenge for calibrating complex ECUs are tight and often contradictory requirements, such as NOx versus CO2 reduction. Not only do ten thousands of calibration parameters have to be considered, but also numerous interactions between different software functions and ECUs must be taken into account. In addition, calibrations of electronic systems have to be done for a number of different vehicles or model variants which are sold in the different markets.

Calibration tasks are normally conducted in a work-split between OEM, ECU-suppliers and engineering companies. Following the evolution of ECU prototypes, the tasks are iterated on different levels of detail throughout the development process.

Engine calibration tasks

Typical engine calibration tasks for example are:

  • Optimization of base engine parameters such as injection-, ignition-, or valve-timing with respect to engine outputs such as power, torque, fuel consumption, and emission under stationary or transient, and cold or hot temperature conditions.
  • Parameterization of algorithms which derive key engine values such as torque, air- and fuel-mass, temperatures, or raw-emissions by calculations.
  • Drivability optimization ranging from idle-control to the determination of the best trade-off between sportiness and comfort.
  • Parameterization of correlated safety-relevant functions such as vehicle dynamics control.
  • Refinement and validation of calibrations under realistic and rough environmental conditions during test-trips.

To manage complex optimization tasks, calibrators require solutions that combine human expertise with best practice optimization methods and easy data handling. INCA offers sophisticated calibration functions and data management capabilities. In addition, INCA provides interfaces to enterprise data backbones for automating calibration procedures. Interfaces enable the integration of INCA functionality into customer specific solutions. 

Calibrating Automotive Electronics – Products