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Compile automotive software into stand-alone virtual ECUs

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  • Generation of Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 virtual ECUs as FMU
  • Cost savings through integration into existing infrastructures and CX toolchains
  • Designed for easy collaboration with suppliers and partners
  • For AUTOSAR Classic and Non-AUTOSAR software


Speed and flexibility are the keys for the development of software-defined vehicles in DevOps development cycles. With cloud-based toolchains and virtual test environments, radical increases in development efficiency are possible while at the same time providing the highest level of safety.

A central role in virtualization is played by virtual ECUs combined with automated and parallelized test setups, designed for debugging, variable testing, and execution speed. They allow Continuous Integration (CI) of software regardless of existing hardware constraints, within simulated environments.

ETAS VECU-BUILDER is a tool to generate virtual ECU(s) as FMU for verification and validation of automotive microcontroller software in Software-in-Loop (SIL) setups.

The following paragraphs describe the tool, its capabilities, and some customer applications.


Work steps for compiling automotive software into virtual ECUs that can be used as independently executable ECUs.

VECU-BUILDER facilitates the creation of stand-alone runnable virtual ECUs with a FMI 2.0 for Co-simulation interface. This standardized interface enables the integration into existing testing tool chains, as well as wider OEM and supplier collaboration.

Input sources may be AUTOSAR-compliant source codes, Non-AUTOSAR-compliant source code and even PC binaries.

The true value of VECU-BUILDER comes from a tailored approach by an international team of expert consultants and engineers. Based on the customers’ needs it is possible to generate different types of virtual ECUs (see below).

Different types of virtual ECUs

The effective creation of virtual ECUs and systems often involves a process of incremental development. Each vECU Type is defined by a gradual transition from simulation-specific code to the complete production code intended for a target ECU(s). Types 1-3 are executable on a standard PC architecture independent of the actual ECU hardware. This facilitates a significant speed up of ECU development through accelerated simulation speeds and easy debugging.

Type 1

The architecture of a Type 1 vECU contains the application layer only and communicates on the signal level without bus or network communication. A Type 1 vECU facilitates testing and validation of application software functionality as early into the development cycle as possible. The creation of Type 1 virtual ECUs allows for the early testing of software at a time when hardware is still in early development.

Type 2

The creation of virtual ECUs defined as Type 2s includes the integration of simulation-specific basic software (BSW) alongside the application layer. Simulation is conductible on both signal and bus network level for a wider range of testing parameters. This includes bus monitoring and rest bus connectivity. The Type 2 format allows for the effective early testing of software across several networked vECUs.

Type 3

Functions to test all hardware-independent software of a single ECU. The aim is to provide an effective SiL environment in preparation for the transition to HiL testing. To generate Type 3 virtual ECUs a virtual MCAL (microcontroller abstraction layer) can still be incorporated to circumvent hardware dependency.

As a global player in virtualization technology, ETAS is uniquely positioned to offer OEMs and suppliers considerable benefits. These include expedited development cycles, reduced costs, and increased efficiency.

Key Benefits

  • Speed up ECU development with an incremental approach to testing, debugging, and implementation.
  • Reduce development costs by removing dependency upon hardware-intensive testing methods such as HiL.
  • Further reduce time and cost implications with an adaptable approach to integration within existing infrastructures and proprietary requirements.
  • Experience simplified collaboration with suppliers and partners with an approach that balances broad compatibility with a standards-based system architecture.
  • Meet your specific success criteria with a tailored approach to vECU Types and build customization.
  • Realize the full potential of a virtualized approach with ongoing consultation, support, and security testing from an international team.

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Experience the benefits of virtualization with the seamless integration of VECU-BUILDER

ETAS empowers OEMs and suppliers to realize significant reductions in the time and cost of development cycles while increasing overall efficiency. This is a result of broad third-party compatibility and tailored virtualization solutions. VECU-BUILDER is the system of choice for the creation of virtual ECUs in automotive and commercial vehicle industry with an emphasis on seamless integration and standardized protocols.

Virtual ECU for Fuel Cell Development​

SiL test setup for Fuel Cell Development

In this case, the OEM searched for a transition from HiL testing to SiL to exponentially increase simulation speed and overall testing efficiency, while keeping the existing test cases. Challenges were posed by the necessary integration of existing architecture with a vECU, including in-house AUTOSAR BSW and current HiL testing parameters.

ETAS leveraged the significant 3rd-party compatibility of VECU-BUILDER to successfully generate a virtual ECU compliant with automotive and proprietary requirements. This was achieved by integrating existing tooling and parameters into a custom Type-3 vECU. Success parameters were achieved with a closed SiL testing model capable of generating results 6-8x faster than the prior setup.

SiL for Smartphone Vehicle Access System

Overall testing effectiveness was hampered by severe cost and time constraints caused by a complex and ill-suited heterogenous HiL setup. Creation of a virtual ECU was complicated by data from multiple sources, including 3rd-party AUTOSAR BSW and non-AUTOSAR components.

ETAS VECU-BUILDER offers industry-leading flexibility and is capable of integrating all heterogeneous software parts into an FMU. ETAS was chosen as most flexible supplier for meeting the customer's requirements. Success parameters were achieved with an incremental build and debugging SiL model. The build reduced turnaround times from weeks to days and significantly cut overall development costs.