Current automotive systems are still largely engineered as a set of discrete subsystems with minimal interactivity. Current tools and processes do not support the inevitable growth of interconnectivity, interaction and optimization.

Safe, reliable and predictable operation must be ensured as the complexity of the systems increases. Interactions between previously separate subsystems (e.g. brakes and powertrain) create coupled modes which must be assessed and managed with respect to safety, reliability and availability.

Powertrain Research and Advanced Engineering
Ford Motor Company

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Requirement for Comprehensive Verification

Comprehensive verification and calibration of an automotive vehicle’s real-time control system is fundamental to substantiating its safety, integrity, and efficiency. A vehicle’s real-time control system consists of networks of intercommunicating electronic control units (ECUs) that regulate and coordinate distributed plant.

The complexity of interconnected real-time control in conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles increases steadily and inexorably.  Alongside this, there has been a step-function increase in the complexity and intimacy in control between major vehicle subsystems in hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV), accompanied by a corresponding step-function increase in risk attributable to the interactions within and between the major safety critical subsystems of these vehicles.

Comprehensive vehicle verification is required to take place in the context in which vehicles operate – predominantly in urban and highway traffic

The building of safe control systems must involve the comprehensive verification of the entire set of interacting subsystems that constitute the real-time control system of a vehicle, that is (i) each ECU controlling its plant model (ii) the interactions between ECUs in subsystems, and (iii) the interactions between subsystems. And the comprehensive verification of the plant and control system of an entire vehicle must include verification of the vehicle in the context in which the vehicle will operate – that is, mainly in urban and highway traffic.

Such extreme testing of the interconnected multiple electronic + software control subsystems and the plant they coordinate and control is necessary to determine the safety and stability limits of vehicles, and cooperating vehicles in traffic. This level of verification cannot be achieved using conventional hardware and software testing, HIL testing, testing using physical mule vehicles, or by microsimulation traffic modelling and simulation.

The ESSE Systems Workbench Solution

EST’s Model-Based Design (MBD) and engineering solutions provide the ability to build entire high fidelity vehicle models and simulate them individually or as (autonomous) vehicles operating in traffic. This enables the testing not just of single, and multiple, network connected ECU + plant subsystems, but the entire vehicle or multiple vehicles operating in traffic. This capability provides high fidelity virtual mule vehicles for testing prior to committing to physical engineering.

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