Monday, September 29, 2014

EHOOKS enables creative freedom for Controls Developers and Calibrators



Today’s automotive controls development engineers and calibration engineers are highly specialized experts on vehicle systems.  I have always been impressed with their resourcefulness and excellent problem solving skills.  In my experience, they have a much greater understanding of embedded controls software than ever before.  These engineers often have great ideas on how to solve problems and improve vehicle system performance, efficiency, and quality using embedded controls software.

Unfortunately, internal company processes, tools, and organizational structure often limit what engineers are able to do.  One of the biggest problems that I often see is when controls development engineers need to develop and test new controls functions, they are dependent on the ECU Tier 1 or internal software group to create the prototype software necessary to develop and test the new controls function.  Any change or new idea requires a new prototype software build and more waiting for the controls developer.  Similarly, when a calibration engineer needs to bypass a RAM variable to test an idea or workaround a software bug, they are also dependent on the ECU software group to create the prototype software necessary to continue working.  These dependencies and lack of the right tools is very frustrating for engineers and leads to inefficiencies and unnecessary delays in the development process.

Fortunately, we have a product called EHOOKS that has become the game changing solution for ECU software development process bottlenecks and dependencies.  Many automotive OEM departments from around the world have already adopted EHOOKS and have seen immediate benefits for controls development and calibration processes.  With EHOOKS, users simply pick any ECU RAM variable(s) and choose to bypass the variable(s) with a constant, a new calibration variable, a Simulink model, or a C-Code function.  EHOOKS will generate a new ECU software file that can be flashed on to the ECU.  A calibration tool like INCA can then be used to turn on the bypass variables, edit the newly created calibration variables, and measure the results.   The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to make changes in EHOOKS and generate new ECU software to test.
Benefits for the Controls Developer

With EHOOKS, the controls developer now has the freedom to quickly add their own hooks into the ECU software without depending on the software group.  This allows them to easily integrate and test their prototype Simulink model or C-Code function with the ECU software.  The other benefit is that EHOOKS supports on target bypass and external bypass.  If the size of the Simulink model or C-Code function becomes too large for the available space on the ECU, then they can use an external simulation device (e.g. ES910 module) to run the prototype model or function.  

Benefits for the Calibration Engineer

With EHOOKS, the calibration engineer can quickly and easily bypass any ECU RAM variables.  This enables calibrators to test and calibrate diagnostic monitors and ECU software robustness by bypassing ECU RAM variables (e.g. sensors) with calibration variables.  EHOOKS also enables calibrators to work around ECU software bugs and continue working instead of waiting for the software group to provide new ECU software.  This can all be done on the target ECU so there is no need for an external prototyping hardware or simulation device.   

For more information on EHOOKS, check out the links below to a couple of short and interesting YouTube videos.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Simplifying the Transition to AUTOSAR

As AUTOSAR becomes more and more popular, companies are looking to make the transition.  However, this transition can seem like a daunting task.  Things like legacy code, resources, lack of knowledge of the standard, cost, and timing can make the transition difficult to do alone.  At ETAS, we strive to make this migration as painless as possible.  While we understand the transition isn’t going occur overnight, we work with our customers to provide them complete example AUTOSAR software, provide training, and assist during the integration of legacy and new code. 

Some of the most common features in an automotive system are CAN, non-volatile memory and diagnostics.  For someone unfamiliar with the AUTOSAR architecture, configuring each of these features in a system can take a significant amount of time and resources.  As an OEM, most of these services are not providing additional value and innovation to your system, but are required to make it work.  The less time spent designing and configuring these services, the more time can be spent on making application software, which provides significant value to your products.  For this reason, ETAS offers services and products to provide your company a jump-start on integrating AUTOSAR into your system.

By working with our customers up-front, we can provide example configurations that will demonstrate the features which your project requires in complete packages.  These packages would include example application software components that take advantage of the various system services like CAN and NvM, basic software component from COMASSO (an open-source BSW consortium), a complete OS that has been proven on millions of vehicles worldwide, and an RTE as required by the AUTOSAR standard.  We’ve worked with many different MCAL providers as well, and can even assist in integrating this software into your system.  For example, one of the first configuration examples customers would ask for would include communications, generally over CAN.  In this case, ETAS will work with the required MCAL provider for the target hardware, and provide example configuration for all of the AUTOSAR modules required: Can driver, CanIf, Com, ComM, and PduR.  Using this approach, ETAS can then work with you to provide all the necessary training and expertise required to integrate your software into AUTOSAR.

We think that AUTOSAR provides a lot of opportunity of collaboration among companies.  At ETAS, we hope to make the switch easier for you and your company.

For an even more in-depth look at ETAS AUTOSAR solutions see,  "Open Source" AUTOSAR