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Innovative testing regime ensures safety of new hybrid
Subaru has used Hardware-in-the-Loop testing to verify ECU operations in safety critical driving scenarios that are difficult to replicate in physical tests.
In a technical article on Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) testing for the automotive industry, National Instruments Automated Test Product Manager, Jeremy Twaits explains how Subaru’s first production hybrid vehicle was brought to market with the help of pre-production testing and prototyping using PXI based ECU testing developed on the National Instruments platform.
The motor ECU on the new Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid has a complex role to play in the management of the hybrid powertrain and this can have profound safety consequences when operating in some extreme circumstances, which are difficult to reproduce in a real-world testing environment late in the development stage when functioning prototype models have already been produced.
Tomohiro Morita of Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, explained that there needs to be certain control functions within the ECU that ensure the driver and passengers are kept safe under all operating conditions. An example is the behaviour of the motor during accelerating wheelspin on icy road surfaces.
To achieve the right testing conditions, a real motor ECU was used alongside the NI PXI-based HIL system that could simulate the motor operations. This approach can represent any of the motor physical properties and any of the conditions that the motor could be placed under, therefore providing a real representation of the overall set-up at an early stage of the development to test all scenarios and correct any problems before committing to real world tests using expensive hardware.
The full technical article by Jeremy Twaits is available here: “Subaru saves 2000 man hours with PXI-based vehicle testing”