Test and Validation

Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) testing systems comprise an essential contribution to quality assurance during the early phases of ECU development. By simulating the model components known as Driver-Vehicle-Environment (DVE), they facilitate the testing of the functions or diagnostic behavior of ECUs in the laboratory. This makes it possible to run reproducible and comprehensive tests of virtually any driving situation with the added benefit of extensive test coverage through automation – entirely without hazard to driver and vehicle.

ETAS LABCAR is part of the standardized ETAS tool family, which covers all stages of the V-model. Tests may therefore be run on a given model (Model-in-the-Loop, MiL), executed on existing software (Software-in-the-Loop, SiL), on a connected physical ECU (Hardware-in-the-Loop, HiL), or may involve additional measuring and calibration (M&C) steps affecting the data calibration onboard the ECU.

For years, LABCAR has been successfully used to integrate and test control and diagnostic functions in numerous production projects, e.g.:

  • Engine management
  • Transmission management
  • Antilock braking systems (ABS)
  • Electronic stability programs (ESP)
  • Electro-hydraulic brake systems (EHB)
  • Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
  • Active front steering
  • Seat and window control

HiL Systems

LABCAR Component Overview

LABCAR’s main differentiator is its open, modular architecture, which allows the testing system to be easily adapted and functionally extended to suit future requirements. The strict separation of the system-specific hardware and the PC-based computing engine provides a high degree of investment protection.

This facilitates the dedicated replacement or addition of individual hardware modules without the need for additional capital investment.

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Tales of success: the LABCAR HiL test systems

  • LABCAR-RTPC: a step ahead for ten years
    Plenty of market observers rubbed their eyes in disbelief when ETAS introduced Version 1.0 of its LABCAR-RTPC in January 2004. Software that turns a standard PC into a high-performing simulation target for hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) testing had simply been inconceivable. What broke taboos then has since become firmly established – the open PC-based architecture guarantees that testing and simulation systems can benefit from rapid progress in PC processor technology.
  • Intelligent test assistent
    When test drivers for Bosch Gasoline Systems receive their instructions for the test drive from a talking virtual assistant, they can devote their full concentration to driving. The electronic assistant also records all the key data and registers any deviation from the target values. Test cases are compiled in LABCAR-AUTOMATION and can also be used in the HiL system. This saves a considerable amount of time in dispatching routine tasks, allowing test vehicles to be used more efficiently.
  • LABCAR systems as standard development tools for calibration work as well Bosch Diesel & Gasoline Systems (DGS) uses LABCAR when conducting software and post-delivery tests around the world. The system was also assigned parameters and verified for a reference passenger car using a functionally enhanced LABCAR model. This “virtual test vehicle” shifts a portion of the required measurements from the test bench to the HiL simulator. LABCAR is used to perform the initial calibration, and functional cross-connections and worst-case scenarios are determined early along the timeline. As a result, actual measurements taken on the test vehicle or test bench can be either dispensed with or used more effectively.
  • Driving dynamics in HiL testing
    Integrating CarMaker® into the ETAS LABCAR test system lets you incorporate highly dynamic functions and real-time driving maneuvers into the test procedure – whether that’s driving onto a steep, icy road or exceeding limit ranges.
  • Openness creates room for synergies
    A true team effort produces more than the sum of individual achievements – and that often goes for development tools as well. An excellent example of this was when ETAS linked together PreScan, CarSim, MATLAB®/Simulink®, and LABCAR-RTPC for a Japanese customer. Because ETAS LABCAR-RTPC is open, the result is a powerful real-time testing system that is distinguished by special user guidance, high accuracy, and marked flexibility.
  • Real internal-combustion engine meets virtual hybrid components
    Many automotive manufacturers are hybridizing the powertrain to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. A key consideration in that process is to select the right operating strategy in the interaction between the internal-combustion engine and the electric motor. Vienna University of Technology took a real internal-combustion engine and used powerful interfaces to connect it with virtual hybrid drive components on the ETAS LABCAR system and form a closed real-time feedback loop. This makes it possible to validate the effects of various operating strategy parameters with especially high accuracy.
  • Simulating high-voltage tests around the clock
    With voltages of 675 volts and higher, electrical drives pose special challenges for testing equipment. AVL Software und Functions GmbH developed its own realistic models for internal-combustion engines, transmissions, automotive ECUs, batteries, and electric motors. It then integrated them into the LABCAR Multicore HiL system so it can conduct signal-level testing of high-voltage battery controls without using any real voltage. This means engineers can safely develop and test nearly all the functions of the battery management system at the lab workstation – and they can do it fully automatically for 24/7 operation.
  • Testing two-wheelers without risking spills
    More and more motorcycles are equipped with at least an antilock braking system (ABS). The safety benefits such a system offers are especially huge for two-wheelers. However, running tests under real-life conditions is an expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes even impossible business – because every operating error or incorrect calibration can cause even the most experienced test driver to take a spill. The ETAS LABCAR HiL solution tests the actual ECU, with inputs stimulated by hardware signals. Combining it with IPG MotorcycleMaker®, a two-wheeler simulation environment, allows developers to verify virtually all conceivable environments and scenarios – such as driving on black ice or braking at high speeds – without putting the test driver at risk.
  • Testing heavy-duty commercial vehicles
    Navistar, a U.S. manufacturer of heavy-duty commercial vehicles, needed to bring down the high costs of testing and validating test benches and test vehicles. Together with Navistar, ETAS developed an HiL-based test framework for designing and managing automated regression tests that use LABCAR-AUTOMATION as a basis. The framework will also be used for model-in-the-loop and software-in-the-loop simulations.
    Benefits include enhanced coverage of software and functional tests in the lab as well as catching problems prior to test bench and vehicle testing. The automated regression tests also cut the cycle time of certain software tests by a factor of 10.
  • Testing a virtual excavator
    Various models of off-road vehicles are put to use in all kinds of environmental conditions. The size of the vehicle alone can make it impossible to conduct some real tests, such as those that require a cold chamber. For years, engine developer AVL has deployed HiL applications to support the calibration of production vehicles. Today, it is even possible to perform in-lab function calibration with final production data – thanks to AVL’s method of Model-Based Engine Optimization (MoBEO). This “virtual series calibration” saves time and money – while simulating all possible environmental conditions also boosts the quality of the calibration.
  • Velocity controllers for marine diesel engines
    When designing marine diesel engines, it is becoming ever more important to consider how to reduce fuel consumption and optimize the composition of the exhaust gas. The laboratory team at Wuhan University of Technology in China employs ETAS tools as it develops electronic velocity controllers for marine diesel engines. ETAS LABCAR comes into play when the team researches the control strategies for electronic velocity controllers and tests actuator components.
  • ETAS LABCAR can see
    Testing state-of-the-art embedded ECUs with optical displays is a difficult and time-consuming task. Some visual feedbacks, like the angular speed of a gauge needle, cannot be measured objectively by the human eye. Other functions, such as the display of the remaining time on a washing machine, take too much time to be tested manually. ETAS offers a compact real-time machine vision system that combines a camera system for capturing visual feedback with the ETAS LABCAR HiL test system and the ETAS LABCAR-AUTOMATION software. This makes it possible not only to synchronize the image capturing to the I/O signals with millisecond accuracy, but also to execute fully automatic test scripts that can run overnight or over the weekend.

…and the story continues!