3 Myths About Rapid Prototyping Tools For Controls Development

model-based-development-workflow

Rapid prototyping tools allow quick iterations of control software code so we can learn what works and get the system functioning. Unfortunately, most rapid prototyping tools available today for system development fall into two categories:

  • The very expensive, highly capable options available to OEMs
  • The cheaper options meant for tinkering or hobbyists

Fortunately, there’s a third category: affordable, production-ready rapid prototyping tools that are easy-to-use.

Let’s look at three myths about rapid prototyping tools for the development and production of autonomous or EV/HEV vehicles.

Myth 1: Rapid Prototyping Tools Can’t Make Production Software

We’ve heard that rapid prototyping tools are great for innovation, but don’t have the capability to handle the detailed challenges and rigor of production system development.

Truth:

Rapid prototyping tools ARE great for innovation, because they let you iterate quickly, additionally, we’ve been enabling our customers to use those SAME tools for production for more than 15 years. New Eagle’s Raptor suite of tools is specifically designed for engineers developing systems and vehicles meant for mass production. Each Raptor software build automatically injects production-capable calibration management and data-collection capabilities to support production-oriented workflows and tools. Beyond that, Raptor has field-proven Fault Management & Diagnostics functionality engineered to allow application development targeting real-world emissions compliance standards such as CARB CCR 1968.2 (OBD-II) and CCR 1971.1 (OBD-HD).

Raptor Platform Overview

Myth 2: Rapid Prototyping Tools Can’t Handle Production Development Processes

We’ve heard engineers are more comfortable using legacy processes to achieve compliance with safety standards, because they are not sure how newer technologies map onto standards such as ISO 26262.

Truth:

Since its inception, ISO 26262 has provided a path to compliance using Model-Based development, providing ISO 26262-6 Annex B with guidelines. The revised ISO 26262 : 2018, which was recently released, provides enhanced guidance specifically for model-based development with code-generation and software safety analysis.

Raptor is built upon the MathWorks code generator for which MathWorks offers an IEC Certification Kit specifically for ISO 26262. Our production customers can engage our safety-certified engineers to prepare a plan tailored for their project.

 

model-based-development-workflow
Portions of this image are from the International Standard ISO 26262-6 Second Edition 2018-12

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Myth 3: Automated Code Means Added Hardware Costs

Some engineers believe that rapid prototyping and code-generation are too inefficient to target cost optimized controllers for volume production. They think it will increase their overhead which would force a more expensive processor and more memory. They believe you must hand-tweak software code and use the cheapest possible controller.

Truth:

Machine-generated code does not add costs, and is more accurate than human-generated code. The repeatability of machine-generated code, combined with the optimizations it can perform, is often favorable to its human-generated counterpart.

Raptor is built on The MathWorks proven code-generation technology which has continued to improve in quality and efficiency over the past fifteen years and provides a cost-effective way to accelerate your vehicle development.

Most systems development projects we consult on (low to medium volume) involve conversations about the Nonrecurring Engineering Costs (NRE) because they factor heavily into the end system cost, particularly at these volumes. We advise our clients that it doesn’t make sense to spend extra budget on engineering just to shave a few dollars off the controller price.

Production-Ready Rapid Prototyping Tools In Action:

A great example of our production-ready rapid prototyping tools in action is our work on the Walmart WAVE.

Walmart wanted to build a vehicle with an alternative-fuel powertrain for cleaner shipping. The concept involved an advanced on-highway hybrid Class 8 truck that would one day become the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE).

Walmart enlisted our team to help develop the complicated control software and electric powertrain architecture. We quickly created a working system and built a custom interface into the WAVE’s microturbine controller, which facilitated the proprietary protocol over a serial interface.

In the end, our rapid development tools allowed Walmart to meet its timeline goals and showcase how green technology can be leveraged on-highway for cleaner shipping.

From Concept to Production, Faster

As the EV/HEV and autonomous markets mature, development tools will continue to evolve. Now you know that there are rapid prototyping tools that can stand up to the demands of production system development.

Remember, the right tools can help you with developing, designing, testing and validating your system so you can reduce risk and cost and get to production that much faster.

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June 2019 Raptor News

raptor 2019a

With summer, comes the biggest update to the Raptor platform of 2019–Raptor 2019a. Plus, get up-to-date on the latest articles, products, and training opportunities designed to help you take control of your project and overcome mechatronic control system challenges.

Raptor 2019a 

Raptor 2019a brings notable updates to the Raptor-Dev, Raptor-Cal and Raptor Test tools.  Check out the release notes on our wiki, or skim what’s new below:

Raptor-Dev 2019a

View our Raptor-Test regression reports for the Raptor-Dev 2019a_1.0 release here.

  • BCM48: CAN queue improvements, EEPROM driver enhancements, added Duty Cycle measurements for frequency inputs
  • GCM/ECM196: enhanced Application Monitor functionality, added redundant EEPROM capability, CAN2/3 robustness fixes, added J1939 support
  • GCM80: CAN queue improvements, CAN messaging fixes, added J1939 support
  • Displays: Updated default EEPROM storage logic, startup display improvements
  • Enhanced support for third-party calibration tools
  • Fault Manager enhancements
  • Improvements to the DBC CAN message blocks
Raptor-Cal 2019a
  • Transfer-Cals improvements
  • Stripchart autoscaling
  • Additional settings for compatibility with J1939
  • Resolved issues with Fault Manager support for Motohawk ECUs
  • Stability and performance enhancements
Raptor-CAN 2019a
  • Support for multi-bus simulation
  • Floating-point simulation precision fixes
  • Gateway function tool will now pass through new messages after initialization
  • Installer robustness improvements
  • Licensing updates
Raptor-Test 2019a
  • Improved initial ECU connection time
  • Added support for GCM70 and GCM80
  • Added additional script actions (Reflash, VerifyRunningSoftware, CANChannelUpdate)
  • Fixed enum variable handling
  • Custom plugin interface enhancements
  • Improved RPG file version migration
  • Licensing updates

Raptor Logo

Regression Testing

Inside every new Raptor-Dev release announcement, there’s a link to download the Raptor-Test regression reports that outline all individual regression tests ran on the software, noting whether or not those tests passed. If you’ve ever wondered what regression testing is–let alone, why it’s both useful and necessary for programs–read this helpful article to learn all about it.

 

test-summary-laptop

Telematics Gateway Unit 

This telematics gateway unit is summer 2019’s newest addition to Raptor Telematics product line, manufactured by a global leader in telematics manufacturing. This unit meets automotive quality standards, approved by major US and European OEMs, heavy-duty vehicle manufactures, and agricultural implement suppliers–a capability not found in most rugged embedded controllers! 

To learn more about this new hardware,  contact our sales team or click the button below.

 

telematics gateway unit
Don’t Miss Raptor Training on September 17-19, 2019

Registration for the fall Raptor Training Course is now open! Build your skills with this hands-on, in-depth course, taught by New Eagle’s Raptor experts. Sign up now to save your seat, or contact our team for more information.

 

 

raptor training

 

Be among the first to know about the latest Raptor updates, upcoming events and training opportunities, plus get exclusive Raptor tips by subscribing to our mailing list. For more great ways to stay up-to-date with New Eagle, connect with us on social. 

What is Regression Testing and Why is it Necessary?

regression testing with raptor test

Have you noticed that, inside every new Raptor-Dev release announcement, there’s a link to download the Raptor-Test regression reports? In that download, we outline information for all of the individual regression tests run on software and whether or not those tests have passed. But what exactly is regression testing, and why is it necessary? Before you break out your old stats notebook to find out, know that regression tests have nothing to do with variable correlation–you’re thinking regression analysis.

test-summary-laptop

What is Regression Testing?

Throughout the software development life cycle, engineers create a suite of test cases to validate software against the associated test case prior to developing additional features. However, software development isn’t always linear. As software developers generate code, functions are added to enhance functionality or to respond to requirement changes. Not to mention, revisions are often necessary due to obligatory bug corrections or performance issues. Through this continuous evolution and expansion of software, it’s necessary to retest and confirm that new code doesn’t alter the existing functionality of the system. To do so, engineers will frequently run the previous test cases to prevent software modification from having adverse effects on existing code. This is referred to as regression testing.

 

Universal Regression Rig (URR)

 

Think of the word regression in terms of its meaning “the act of going back to a previous place or state.” It tests the software backwards, making sure new functions don’t break existing performance.

The Universal Regression Rig

Over the years at New Eagle, we focused on improving the regression testing method. Through this development, we built a Universal Regression Rig (U.R.R) to test software packages generated in Raptor-Dev on our Raptor based ECUs. When first developing this system, we concentrated on

  • Replacing our existing test boards with a more robust and repeatable system
  • Upgrading our testing procedures using a selection of advanced hardware
  • Organizing and consolidating our testing hardware
  • Streamlining our testing process to save time and improve the quality of our software systems

 

Universal Regression Rig Cover 

Built with aerospace-grade testing hardware, this rig is capable of complete I/O testing on up to eight Raptor ECUs. It also handles most (soon to be all) of the hardware circuit types supported by the various Raptor ECUs. Designed to ensure that if something doesn’t pass, the U.R.R. runs tests automatically so that our engineers can address the software rather than manually debug the rig itself.

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Why Regression Testing is Necessary

Now that you know what regression testing is and how it’s done, let’s talk about why it’s necessary. Regression testing is a part of all software development and maintenance. If a team fails to validate the functionality of the source code prior to release, errors can occur. The result of those errors can cause negative effects on those using the system. This is why it’s necessary.

However, disadvantages of regression testing do exist. It can become incredibly extensive depending on the complexity of the software. Why? Test cases are continuously added as software progresses. With both developing and running a hefty suite of test cases, regression testing becomes time consuming, expensive, and requires an advanced set of resources. In fact, much of a project’s budget and resource allocation is often set aside for regression testing.

Regression Testing Techniques

To offset the above issues, there are techniques to mitigate the time and cost associated with regression testing. To start with, try these three main techniques: Retest All, Regression Test Selection, Test Case Prioritization.

Regression Testing

Going back to our improvements on regression testing, we first test critical systems, followed by functional systems, and, finally, non-functional systems. This allows us to monitor software change modifications. If a program requires, we can execute performance testing. This test tracks the quality of the output by testing the system and monitoring the feedback response. As a whole, this entire process confirms that the system performs to customer expectations. It also measures the outcome in regards to user experience. For instance, in our drive-by-wire (DBW) system, we run tests to validate system command sends to turn the steering wheel. The wheel both turns the proper amount, indicating proper functionality and smooth turns, creating an enjoyable driving experience for passengers.

Testing Raptor Releases

When applying regression tests to Raptor, we run them against each internal build of Raptor-Dev with our Continuous Integration (CI) server. Our engineers integrate source code into our shared repository. From here, the CI server monitors our source code after each check-in. This automatically builds and tests the product to identify any potential errors. If an error occurs, the server alerts our team of the regression. The alert allows them to detect and correct problems early on. With this automation, we receive the added benefit of accelerated software releases.

The Three Stages of Regression Testing

We continue testing on every version of our Raptor Software Tools by pushing them through the three stages of regression testing. These three stages are software-only, processor-in-the-loop, and hardware tests.

Software-only tests ensure that each model previously built will continue to build. Every potential software release is tested across every possible Matlab Version currently supported by Raptor-Dev. These tests determine if the software is functioning correctly and identifies if any platform specific issues arise. Our engineers use software-only testing to guarantee that the new Raptor-Dev release will function for all customers across all supported platforms.

Processor-in-the-loop testing assures that each software version runs properly on the intended hardware. Raptor-Test scripts run against the hardware integrated with the new software release to validate whether all major functions work properly. This stage tests major features, such as interpolation tables, fault manager, and the J1939 protocol library.

Hardware tests, performed on our U.R.R., establish whether the hardware inputs and outputs function through all possible scenarios according to customer specifications with the new build of Raptor-Dev. Once a software package is flashed onto an ECU, the test module interfaces with a coordinator module. Then, test scripts are run to transmit and receive sensor and actuation signals between the two modules. Signals, such as analog inputs, are then rendered to the target hardware and become verified. Lastly, the coordinator hardware receives the test outputs to determine proper functionality for actuation signals. These signals include PWM and digital outputs (I/O).

Building Validation with Raptor-Test

Raptor-Test is a powerful software tool that, in conjunction with a test bench setup, facilitates testing of model-based software against a system’s requirements through simulated hardware-in-the-loop (SimHIL). SimHIL testing is a control systems validation strategy. It uses simulated I/O to verify that the software functions match the application requirements. By using a graphical PC interface, users quickly create and execute a test script over a USB-to-CAN interface, automating a once error-prone, manual testing process.

Raptor-Test configuration can vary with the application’s testing requirements. Some applications only require a PC to run Raptor-Test, a Kvaser cable for CAN-to-USB connection, and the ECU under test. For more complex applications, Raptor-Test can interface with both a Test Module and a Coordinator Module (which typically runs a plant model), transmitting and receiving simulated sensor and actuation signals between the two modules.

Raptor-Test

Building a validation test plan with Raptor-Test uses automation to reliably and repeatedly test your software changes. Ultimately, this improvement gives you greater confidence in your software, putting you on the path to production.

Develop Your Solution with the Intended Results

Software modifications occur throughout the development cycle, and regression testing is often tedious and overwhelming. However, it’s vital for ensuring your end product functions as intended. If you’re looking to develop a program that requires efficient and affordable regression testing prior to your solution’s release, contact New Eagle.

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Join New Eagle at the 2019 Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo

EV Tech Expo 2019

Connect with New Eagle in Booth 816

Meet with New Eagle in booth 816 at the 2019 Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo  at the Suburban Collection Showplace (46100 Grand River Ave) in Novi, Michigan on September 10-12, 2019 to learn about our proven, production control system solutions for electric (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

Here you can talk with our team of experts about how embedded model-based development (eMBD) on the Raptor control platform can expedite the path to production for innovative EVs and HEVs leveraging fast, efficient and reliable software techniques and production hardware.

Schedule a time to speak with our team during the show by selecting  the button below.

 

Meet Our Partners

evt-pnew-eagle-partners

While at the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo make sure to visit each of our partner booths to learn how we work together to offer you the best, production-level products for your project.

You can find and learn more about our partners with the EVT EXPO’s Exhibitor Alpha list and then add our partners to your EVT Show Planner. This interactive tool allows you to add exhibitor collateral, products, events, photos and recommend exhibitors prior to and during the show.

evt logo

What to Expect at EVT

Each year, the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo draws over 8,000 attendees, 600 suppliers, and 100 speakers together to discuss cutting-edge innovation in the EV and HEV industry.

For anyone hoping to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and market growth, the EVT Expo is not one to miss.

 

Learn About Cutting-Edge EV/HEV Control Solutions

Take a look at our EV/HEV resources for more information about what EV/HEV products we offer and what solutions we assisted with.

Subscribe to New Eagle’s newsletter and connect on social media to stay in the loop about this and other can’t-miss EV innovations and events.

What to Expect from Raptor™ 2019a

raptor 2019a release

Coming this week, our Raptor™ dev team will publish the Release Notes for the next major Raptor™ release, Raptor 2019a. See below for what improvements have been made. Plus, get the recap from the MathWorks Automotive Conference, learn more about upcoming Raptor training opportunities, and find out great ways to stay up-to-date with New Eagle events and the latest Raptor enhancements.

What’s New with Raptor 2019a

Raptor 2019a brings key improvements to Raptor-Dev, Raptor-Cal, Raptor-CAN, and Raptor-Test. Here’s what to expect: 

Raptor-Dev 2019a
  • BCM48: CAN queue improvements, EEPROM driver enhancements, added Duty Cycle measurements for frequency inputs
  • GCM/ECM196: enhanced Application Monitor functionality, added redundant EEPROM capability, CAN2/3 robustness fixes, added J1939 support
  • GCM80: CAN queue improvements, CAN messaging fixes, added J1939 support
  • Displays: Updated default EEPROM storage logic, startup display improvements
  • Enhanced support for third-party calibration tools
  • Fault Manager enhancements
  • Improvements to the DBC CAN message blocks

View our Raptor-Test regression reports for the Raptor-Dev 2019a_1.0 release here.

Raptor-Cal 2019a
  • Transfer-Cals improvements
  • Stripchart autoscaling
  • Additional settings for compatibility with J1939
  • Resolved issues with Fault Manager support for Motohawk ECUs
  • Stability and performance enhancements
Raptor-CAN 2019a
  • Support for multi-bus simulation
  • Floating-point simulation precision fixes
  • Gateway function tool will now pass through new messages after initialization
  • Installer robustness improvements
  • Licensing updates
Raptor-Test 2019a
  • Improved initial ECU connection time
  • Added support for GCM70 and GCM80
  • Added additional script actions (Reflash, VerifyRunningSoftware, CANChannelUpdate)
  • Fixed enum variable handling
  • Custom plugin interface enhancements
  • Improved RPG file version migration
  • Licensing updates

Note: To access the latest updates, you’ll need to have a maintenance plan that’s up-to-date. Get started with purchasing a maintenance plan by selecting the button below.

MathWorks Automotive Conference Recap

At the end of April 2019, New Eagle made its debut appearance as an exhibitor at the MathWorks Automotive Conference in Plymouth, Michigan. There, we shared information about embedded model-based development with Raptor™, an official MathWorks Partner product, while demonstrating our latest Raptor autonomous control solution, our drive-by-wire kit for the Chrysler Pacifica.

mathworks conference picture

You can see the drive-by-wire kit in-action on our YouTube channel and check out photos from the Mathworks Automotive Conference on Instagram.

Get Trained on Raptor

For new Raptor users, Raptor Training is one of the best ways to learn the fundamentals of embedded model-based development using the platform.

In this three-day, hands-on course, attendees create real-world applications using Matlab/Simulink and Raptor™, crafting models with Raptor-Dev, generating code, programming an ECU, and calibrating in real time.

This program is ideal for control system, application, and embedded software engineers, as well as technical program managers.

To register for the next session on September 17-19, 2019, click the button below.