Thursday, April 2, 2015

Virtualization with AUTOSAR

A recent BlogPost by Janak Patel on “Why AUTOSAR?” explained some of the benefits to moving to an AUTOSAR based software architecture. We are often asked if AUTOSAR based architectures make it easier to realize the benefits of virtualization? The short answer is YES!

Application software built using AUTOSAR based architectures is hardware independent. The lower level services and drivers are abstracted to ensure there are no dependencies. The application software cleanly sits on top of a Run Time Environment (RTE) and Basic Software. These levels are independent of any hardware. Underneath them sit the OS and MCAL (Micro-Controller Abstraction Layer). Both of these are hardware dependent, but fully encapsulate all hardware specific software. Since the interface to the MCAL is well defined, it is straightforward to move the application software from one MCAL/OS (ECU HW #1) to another MCAL/OS (ECU HW #2). It is also straightforward to move to an MCAL/OS that is completely virtual, enabling the application software to run on a virtual ECU. This setup can be executed on a real-time PC.

The same application Software can run on many ECUs or virtually on PCs

Benefits to developing on a Virtual ECU

1. You do not need to wait for hardware to test/validate your application software.
  • This is especially useful when the development team is distributed across several geographic locations. You do not have to worry about each team having the same revision of hardware, or having to wait for a shipment of a new revision of a hardware board. I have talked to numerous development teams who, at a critical juncture in a project, had to suffer through schedule delays of several weeks while waiting for a hardware development board to work its way through customs – that’s not an issue with a Virtual ECU!
2. You can test/validate the real-time behavior of your application software on your desktop without having to change a single line of code.

3. Reduce risks to your development schedule.
  • Quickly do early testing of a software integration on your desktop, before wasting time trying to work out the kinks on a HiL bench.
  • Using a virtual ECU on your HiL bench, you can test/validate your application software on a HiL bench before the physical ECU is available
4. Test the performance and evaluate the results of a network of ECUs before you even have physical ECUs.
  • All of the ECUs can be virtual, or you can have a mixture of physical ECUs and virtual ECUs on a network
  • Each virtual ECU can run on its own dedicated PC, or multiple virtual ECUs can run on one PC
  • The ECUs on the network can communicate with each other with a physical CAN bus (the real-time PCs can be equipped with CAN hardware interfaces), or they can communicate with each other via a virtual CAN bus. The choice is up to you depending on your testing objectives.
5. Virtual calibration is fully enabled  – either validating that a new control is calibratable or doing actual calibration work on a desktop earlier in the development process.

Now that you know some of the benefits of using an AUTOSAR based Virtual ECU, I’ll give you a quick overview of the ETAS solution for implementing Virtual ECUs, ISOLAR-EVE:

ETAS enables virtual ECUs with the ISOLAR-EVE product

  • Eclipse based
  • Open API (.NET, Java, C/C++, etc.) enables scripting, test automation, or integration into existing test environments
  • INCA fully accesses the EVE executable
  • Runs on real-time or non-real-time PCs

If you would like to learn more, just let me know! Contact me or just comment below.

Virtualization yields higher quality Embedded Controls more quickly

Virtualization is a widely used term today. But what does it mean for the development of automotive embedded controls?

Virtualization is about shifting development activities to earlier in the development process; with a focus on PC based development.

  • Minimization / elimination of traditional development hardware
  • Can result in tremendous schedule and cost savings, as well as an increase in the quality and maturity of the work product
  • Usually, corresponding process changes are needed

But, changing development processes is not something to be taken lightly. It is important to choose use-cases for virtualization wisely.

The big benefit to virtualization is that it enables the control being developed to reach a higher level of maturity (and quality) at an earlier point in time during the development process.

Existing Controls-Maturity Curve

Virtualization with PC-Based Development can have a dramatic impact


Improved Controls-Maturity Curve


Why is it valuable to have higher maturity for a control earlier in the development process?

Because it can enable more parallelism in development tasks. Typically when a control goes from one stage to a subsequent stage, there is time wasted by the engineer in the subsequent stage to work through the initial issues that are typically encountered, such as incompatibilities when integrating with other controls. This usually takes time to remedy, and adds pressure to the schedule.

Instead, if the two engineers from the two stages can interact together on their PC-based development systems before the control is handed off between them, they can quickly work through these value-robbing time wasters. The engineer in the subsequent stage can quickly give feedback to the engineer in the initial stage, who can quickly make the modifications. The overall schedule is decreased and the quality level of the control is higher as a result.

There are many opportunities across the V-Cycle to migrate to virtualization techniques. It does not make sense to try to do everything at first. This would just introduce other costs and complexities. A better idea is to identify a couple of areas that will give you the best bang-for-the-buck.

Typically, an in-depth analysis of your current development processes and assets is needed to determine which virtualization use-cases will deliver the most benefit-to-cost ratio. As part of this analysis, there is also the opportunity to find additional efficiency gains. Look to enable more parallel working across teams that were previously serial.

  • PC-based development = rapid iterations

If you would like to discuss ideas for virtualization for your organization, feel free to email me at

Voltage, temperature, lambda, digital or current? ETAS has the right module for all your measurement needs!

Over the past 20 years, ETAS has advanced the efficient, reliable, and secure development of embedded software for the automotive industry and other sectors of the embedded industry. We are your partner for AUTOSAR-based development, virtualization, and embedded security. In this post, we'd like to talk to you more about some more traditional ETAS tools: Measurement modules!

Our measurement modules are the best in the industry. They are extremely high quality, rugged and suitable for all kinds of environments and of course come in a pretty blue color. They are Ethernet-based and fully integrated with ETAS INCA to ensure the highest accuracy and time synchronization. The new line of ES4xx modules is IP67 rated, so they can be mounted close to the sensor under the hood. They also support open protocol XCP on Ethernet for 3rd party software compatibility.

Let's look at your different measurement needs and the related ETAS modules:

Voltage: Direct Analog Voltage Measurement

ETAS Modules for Direct Analog Voltage Measurement
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Temperature: Temperature Measurement Using Thermocouples or PT100 Sensors

ETAS Modules for Temperature Measurement Using Thermocouples or PT100 Sensor
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Lambda: Oxygen Measurement and Exhaust Gas Analysis
ETAS modules for Lambda: Oxygen Measurement and Exhaust Gas Analysis
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Digital: Analysis of Digital Signals, such as Counting, Frequency Calculation etc.

ETAS Modules for analysis of digital signals, such as counting, frequency calculation etc
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Current: Direct Current Measurement

Direct Current Measurement Modules by ETAS
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High Speed A/D:  Measurement of analog to digital signals up to 100 KHz

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To learn more about ETAS measurement modules, browse our webpages. For any other questions or to request a demo or evaluation unit, please contact us.