The amount of software used in road vehicles today is growing rapidly, and safeguarding the quality of this software has become one of the automotive industry’s biggest concerns. Software testing accounts for a clear majority of total development costs and has become a bottleneck in the process of bringing new models to market as quickly as possible.
Much of this software testing is still largely reliant on physical hardware such as test rigs or test prototypes. These are expensive to build and maintain, but are also limited to their specific application and take up space.
Combine has been involved in a project that aims to transfer large parts of physical testing for a sensor/actuator system into a virtual environment.
We transferred testing into a virtual environment by using virtual software models. Such a system consists of components from different domains (digital, electrical and mechanical) that are usually modelled using a variety of different tools. Getting these models to integrate with each other and work like a real system requires a common method of communication between the models.
By using the FMI standard, which is a common communication interface, we were able to create a virtual test bench. On this test bench the actual software is loaded into a virtual processor and used to control a number of actuators using inputs from sensor models. All the hardware components that would be found on a real-life test bench are represented by virtual models. The term actual software used here refers to the actual binary software that would be used in the end product.