Investigation of a new integration test environment : Facilitating offline debugging of Hardware-in-the-Loop

University essay from KTH/Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab)


Advanced automatic testing is very important in development and research within the vehicle industry. Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) systems give the ability to validate Electronic Control Units (ECUs) based on software simulation without gathering all of the physical hardware. This enables testing by providing inputs and examining the corresponding outputs of the ECUs in a simpler and safer way than in traditional physical testing. HIL offers the advantage that we can verify and validate the functions of ECUs prior to full-scale hardware production.

On the contrary, because HIL systems are normally released as general-purpose test beds, it takes time to embed them into the current system. Additionally, the question of how to fill the gap between the HIL and the test environment is even more critical when the test bed is expected to be used for a long period of time without modifications. Furthermore, HIL systems are precious. It is not practical and will be considered as a waste of resource if it is used exclusively by testers. Scania’s RESI group uses Client-Server architecture to make it more flexible. The HIL system is hosted at server side while the testers operate it at client side. This architecture enables different implementations of client and server as long as a same protocol is applied, but this still does not solve the problem that the HIL is not always accessible when the testers want to debug their scripts. The testers want to find a solution to achieve this goal offline (without servers).

To solve the problem, we first investigated which programming languages are used in the industry. Without doubt, there is no dominant language that ideally suits all situations, so secondly, we developed a new test environment. The new environment including “Dummy Mode” and “Mat Mode” is able to provide script validation service on basic and logic levels without servers. The result shows the Dummy mode is able to reach a higher detection rate (99.3%) on simple errors comparing to the current environment (81.3%). By reproducing and reusing the result of HIL system, Mat mode is able to identify logic errors and provide better assistance when the logic errors are found. In general, the proposed environment is able to show a better way of using HIL which makes the whole system more efficient and productive.

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