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Hardware-in-the-loop tests help off-highway system developers to improve reliability. (dSPACE)

Design validation for harsh off-highway conditions

The growing role of electronics and software is altering the design process, requiring a greater focus on validation and verification. Tools are evolving to let developers do more tests during the early stages of design while also helping them meet the growing number of requirements.

Model-based engineering has become the norm, making it simpler for engineers to check their designs as projects evolve. The stringent demands of harsh off-highway environments force developers to run a range of simulations including hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing.

“There is greater capability built into the system modeling up-front, along with a better modeling of architectures and systems, but it still can drive the critical need for HIL simulation in real time to ensure proper operation and safety of these systems, prior to being deployed and tested in the vehicles,” said Jace Allen, Lead Technical Specialist - Simulation & Test Systems at dSPACE Inc.

Safety standards like ISO 26262 are among the many factors that force design teams to spend more time ensuring that errors are few and far between. Virtual validation tools help developers test for safety while guaranteeing that systems and software meet extreme environmental demands.

“With respect to safety-related software, several actions have to be managed throughout the entire development lifecycle,” said Giulio Ornella, Off-Highway Advanced Engineering Manager at Dana Holding Corp. “These include everything from safety-related requirements to hazard and risk analysis, functional safety assessment, safety functions implementation, HIL testing, and verification and validation.”

Most mobile equipment applications are harsher than industrial applications, so it can be tough to meet requirements. Virtual and real-world tests must cover a broad range of parameters and meet the needs of regulations such as ISO 26262.

“Mobile machines see high vibration, large temperature swings, water spray, and a wide array of power supply and EMI/EMC challenges,” said Kirk Lola, Business Development Manager at Parker Hannifin’s Electronic Controls Division. “This has increased the range and depth of design validation testing. We have seen not only more validation testing requirements, but also testing to more extremes such as temperatures down to -40°C and up to +85°C as well as IP67 water and dust ingress requirement.”

Equipment suppliers are already starting to consider another demanding feature that will have to be added to many systems. Cybersecurity is expected to grow in importance as connectivity makes more vehicles vulnerable to hacking.

“Verification and validation tools provide for simulation of the complete interfaces of the system under test,” Allen said. “This includes those interfaces that need to be analyzed for susceptibility to be hacked, etc. New cyber-based security methods, either home-grown or off-the-shelf, need to be adopted into these testing processes in order to provide for proper verification and validation of these types of issues.”

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