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V I R T U A L I Z AT I O N

V I R T U A L I Z AT I O N

Seamless Virtualization
and Visualization

Environment

17

Figure 1:
Co-simulation of models in Dymola, using
controller model from ASCET as the functional
mock-up unit (FMU).

doubleLaneChange
FMI import
ascet_fmu1
k=1

By Dr. Natalia Esau, Christoph Malz, and Corina Mitrohin, ETAS

Functional mock-up interface (FMI)


Supporting the platform independent exchange

Simulation of mechatronic systems in virtual environments

const

and co-simulation of models, the FMI interface

The current auto industry trend of deploying virtual environments for ECU development is supported by

standard was introduced as part of the

a new solution termed ETAS Virtual ECU (EVE). In addition, ETAS is working closely with pilot customers

MODELISAR (Modelica AUTOSAR Interoper-

on the implementation of tools dedicated to the virtualization and visualization of mechatronic systems.

ability to Support Vehicle Functional Mock-up)


project, which saw the participation of

The use of the new visualization environment from ETAS enables the concurrent design of components
of both controller and controlled systems of mechatronic systems. This approach is instrumental in

29 industry and research partners from five

Vehicle

Ground

accomplishing significant efficiency and quality increases throughout the development process.

European countries.

PC-based simulations of mechatronic systems in virtual environments


expedite the attainment of a high degree of system familiarity in a manner
both comfortable and cost-efficient.
The use of the personal computer
facilitates easy analyses of complex
functional correlations and helps
forestall design errors. An overall
design encompassing both electronic
control functions and components of
the system being controlled enables
intelligent system optimization: For
example, collaborative design effectively facilitates the damping of
mechanical vibrations, optimization
of powertrain energy flow, or the
reduction of braking distances.
A virtual environment is ideally suited
for the fine-tuning, dedicated parameterization, and testing of controller, actuators and sensors, plus the
mechanical components of a controlled system at an early point along
the development timeline. In the

course of system simulations, the deployment of the ETAS virtualization


technology facilitates the step-by-step
replacement of controller models
with embedded software. It is also
possible to exchange virtual components with their physical counterparts. The approach opens new doors
for integration, software testing, and
system calibration. At the same time,
virtualization presents new avenues
for the visualization of interactions
at several levels within the overall
system and its environment, with
the model or source code being only
two examples.
Integrating control in overall system
simulation
When it comes to the virtualization of
mechatronic systems, ETAS deploys
the functional mock-up interface
(FMI). Through this interface, models
from a variety of domains can be
exchanged across tool environment
boundaries and subjected to collaborative, or co-simulation. To this

end, the implementation of a model,


its FMI interface, and associated meta
data are provided in the form of a
functional mock-up unit (FMU).
There are several ways by which to
accomplish the integration of the
control system in the overall system
simulation. In the easiest scenario, to
support the controller system design
in system simulation environments,
such as Dymola by Dassault Systmes or SimulationX by virtual
system engineering specialist ITI,
an FMI-conformant controller model
can be generated by means of a
modeling tool such as ETAS ASCET
or MATLAB/Simulink and then integrated in the afore-mentioned environments (Figure 1). To handle the
controller design, the co-simulation is
run in the new ETAS virtualization environment, in which controller models
can be easily replaced by virtual ECUs.
In this way, the software of entire
ECUs can be validated as part of the
simulation of an overall system.

When connecting virtual ECUs, the


FMU consists only of the implementation of the FMI interface (Figure 2)
used to provide the connection
between virtual ECU and simulation
bus. As a result, the virtual ECU can
be replaced by a physical unit. For
software validation, this permits the
seamless visualization of transitions
between purely virtual testing environments to Hardware-in-the-Loop
varieties and to environments containing physical system components.
Thanks to the various system views
and visualizations available in virtual
environments, the interdependencies
of controller and controlled system
are frequently more easily demonstrated than on the real-world system, and they can therefore by analyzed with greater accuracy. During
software testing, for example, a conditional breakpoint can be inserted in
the signal taken from the AUTOSAR

ECU
software

Vehicle
model

Driver
model

Environment
model

Execution
environment

Controller
model
FMI
interface

Environment
FMI
interface

FMI
interface

FMI
interface

FMI
interface

Simulation bus

function bus. Upon reaching the


breakpoint, the system can be halted
and the system status displayed with
the aid of several visualizations at
various levels: in model mode, or
as perceived in component view
(AUTOSAR), and in source code
mode (C code).

Figure 2:
Co-simulation of models originating in various
domains, using the FMI-conformant simulation
environment from ETAS.