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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Test Bench Meets Cloud: Virtual Testing in Conjunction with HiL Systems.

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

A simulation platform from MicroNova, named "NovaCarts Virtual", combines the advantages of hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) systems with the strengths of cloud technology. As a result, automobile manufacturers and suppliers can expand their test capacities and validate modern ECUs early in the development stage. In addition, the hardware and software solutions allow a combination of real, simulated and virtualized test components.

The amount of software in modern vehicles is constantly rising and plays an ever more critical role. "Software-Defined Vehicles" will decisively characterize modern mobility. However, the new electrical and electronic systems and their architectures increase the scope and complexity of the ECU software and consequently the development pressures. Furthermore, vehicles can only offer more safety and comfort if the numerous applications work together seamlessly and reliably. Therefore, the validation of ECUs requires automobile manufacturers and suppliers to expand test capacities and adapt test methodologies considerably. It is precisely these challenges that MicroNova says addresses with "NovaCarts Virtual".

The simulation solution combines HiL systems and cloud technology to create mixed test environments with real, simulated and virtualized components. The universal XiL test concept based on this uniform platform allows for different variations of ECU tests: from a purely virtual simulation to a complete system with all electrical/electronic ECU and control components of a vehicle. Tests on individual ECUs benefit from a realistic simulation of the rest of the vehicle.

Higher test capacity and lower costs

Real-time container technology acts as the basis for mixed test environments. It makes it possible to run simulations in a standard format, e.g. Docker. This means a wide variety of components can be involved in a test setup. NovaCarts Virtual allows freely definable partitioning of the entire vehicle into real ECUs, ECUs simulated on the HiL and ECUs virtualized in the cloud. When a test job is started, these are dynamically connected to each other and are available again for other tests once the job has been completed. ECUs can also be available as multiples in a test farm depending on requirements.

Continuous Integration through test automation

Methods such as Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery and Deployment (CD) are increasingly being used to accelerate software development while maintaining high quality. One essential component of CI is automatically testing software applications before they are made available in a repository. For CI environments, MicroNova has also developed extensions for the test automation solution EXAM: The "EXAM Jenkins Plug-in" automates the running of tests in build environments, while the "EXAM Test Cloud Controller" distributes test jobs to available resources via the cloud. These methods optimize the utilization of the test infrastructure so that more results are available earlier in the development process.

"By flexibly combining different test runs, NovaCarts Virtual creates significant time savings for automotive manufacturers and testing service providers – and as a result reduces costs by up to 50 percent compared to conventional ECU test methods," says Dr. Klaus Eder, COO at MicroNova, on the advantages of the new platform. "Time spent waiting for re-compiles is reduced, as is the planning effort when test resources are scarce. This is because the combined HiL cloud approach enables agile testing in distributed teams – regardless of location."

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