There is an increasing need for testing functionality early in the process, without access to the complete target system. At the same time, the development time often needs shortening. Netgroup has helped a client in the automotive industry to meet the future needs of testing systems in their work on testing comfort electronics.
The solution was a specially developed Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) system with hardware and software that simulate parts of, or the whole, target system. The system consists of several generic, electric interfaces for connecting ECUs and other hardware, as well as analogue and digital I/O ports for measuring and simulating stimuli. It has electronic loads for simulating things like engines, as well as a real-time PC running simulations and managing I/O signals. The opportunities for fast reconnecting, disconnecting or changing hardware significantly facilitates the process.
In addition to pure testing and verifying of systems requirements, the equipment can also be used for extended failure insertion testing and for testing scenarios that would be hazardous to run in a real target system.
As the HIL system is based on the same test environment that is already used by the test organisation, the outcome was that the engineers could quickly start testing. The test environment includes support for automation, which in the long term will reduce the number of repetitive steps for the users , while at the same time shorten the response times for the development team.