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Making virtual prototyping better than designing with hardware (Part 2)

Posted: 28 Jun 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:virtual prototypes  hardware design  product design 

Virtual prototypes (VPs) are much more conducive to design automation because the environmental stimulus is just another component of the simulation. Careful control of the stimuli results in deterministic behaviour of the product simulation.

Sometimes tool integrations are still required (for example a debugger, Matlab or LabView), but complexity is reduced to the exchange of information via control APIs and configuration files rather than cables, networks and manual setup of test panels.

Users of VPs are able to automate the testing process via software scripts, eliminating the need for custom equipment and cables. Flash memory is simply loaded with a program image rather than re-flashed with complicated tools on the real hardware. Finally, the VP is truly time share-able, as each user can have their custom configuration without fear of breaking another's test setup.

Running these tests nightly allows for much faster feedback of code changes. For one particular airbag controller project, the engineering team implemented a daily execution of 14 scripts on two different ECU configurations. Developers were required to supplement those tests for each new or changed ECU function with a self-test that exercised the functionality.

By using VPs through the entire development process, higher quality products can be created in less time and the VP development cost is recaptured more effectively than if the VP is only used as a pre-hardware development vehicle.

View the PDF document for more information.





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