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Replicating reality with hardware-in-the-loop

Hardware-in-the-loop helps to develop functions more efficiently and test them earlier – which is why Porsche Engineering uses HiL systems at various locations worldwide, including to adapt vehicle functions to local requirements.

The HiL test bench acts as a replica of the real environment of an electronic control unit or an ECU network. For test purposes, it is also possible to selectively apply incorrect information to the vehicle’s sensor interfaces and data buses, for instance to simulate the effects of a defective crankshaft or the complete failure of another vehicle system, as a means of validating the ECU’s diagnostics. Library with simulation models The basis for the HiL simulations is detailed mathematical software models, which are created with Matlab/Simulink and reproduce the physical processes in the vehicle. They are stored in libraries from which the modellers can extract suitable modules – based on the engine variant or chassis type, for example – and combine them to form an overall simulation model. Access to the libraries means that not every HiL simulation model has to be reprogrammed. We have installed several very powerful computers in the HiL test benches and can now easily reproduce individual sub-models physically and correctly in real time. There are also models of the entire vehicle network, the driver, and the environment. But in some complex processes, such as the entire combustion cycle in the engine, we currently still have to find a workaround, says Jörg Turowski, who is the specialist project manager at Porsche Engineering responsible for powertrain HiL systems. Library with simulation models The basis for the HiL simulations is detailed mathematical software models, which are created with Matlab/Simulink and reproduce the physical processes in the vehicle. They are stored in libraries from which the modellers can extract suitable modules – based on the engine variant or chassis type, for example – and combine them to form an overall simulation model. Access to the libraries means that not every HiL simulation model has to be reprogrammed. We have installed several very powerful computers in the HiL test benches and can now easily reproduce individual sub-models physically and correctly in real time. There are also models of the entire vehicle network, the driver, and the environment. But in some complex processes, such as the entire combustion cycle in the engine, we currently still have to find a workaround, says Jörg Turowski, who is the specialist project manager at Porsche Engineering responsible for powertrain HiL systems.

Measurement and control

Sensors supply the input for the electronic control unit, which then compares the measured actual values with target values. If the actual values deviate from the target values, the control unit initiates corrections via actuators.

“With hardware-in-the-loop, even test cases that are very difficult to examine on the road or in field tests can be analysed,” explains Heiko Junker, Senior Manager Powertrain Electronics at Porsche Engineering.

Intercontinental cooperation Several Porsche Engineering locations work closely together on HiL projects. This intercontinental cooperation on the basis of the same processes, techniques, and methods gives Junker and Turowski the opportunity to distribute tasks worldwide according to the availability of resources and expertise and with due regard for the special features of the markets.

For example, while the site in Mönsheim provides the HiL test benches for component and function developers and develops the concepts for future HiL systems, the tools for automated test case implementation and evaluation are continuously optimised in Prague, as well as in-house HiL systems for test case execution.

Info Text: Andreas Burkert

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Sep 13, 2021 at 05:31

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