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Technical Paper

The Virtual Instrument Revolution

Empowering the end-user is the primary focus of most software developers, whether in the general computing industry or in automotive instrumentation applications. End-users' expectations for both ease of use and flexibility in software products are high. Products in the general computing industry, such as Microsoft Word and Excel, have set standards for what a user expects from a software product. Because of the complex nature of most analytical instrumentation applications, it is difficult to deliver a software product for these applications that is both easy to use and flexible for many applications. And, if the product does exist, it usually comes with a relatively high price tag. There are, however, some lower cost software development tools available for instrumentation applications that combine a good mix of flexibility and ease of use. These tools require some development on the part of the end-user, but they do not require a computer science background.
Technical Paper

Methods and Tools for End-to-End Latency Analysis and Optimization of a Dual-Processor Control Module

Automotive HW/SW architectures are becoming increasingly complex to support the deployment of new safety, comfort, and energy-efficiency features. Such architectures include several software tasks (100+), messages (1000+), computational and communication resources (70+ CPUs, 10+ buses), and (smart) sensors and actuators (20+). To cope with the increasing system complexity at lowest development and product costs, highest safety, and fastest time to market, model-based rapid-prototyping development processes are essential. The processes, coupled with optimization steps aimed at reducing the number of software and hardware resources while satisfying the safety requirements, enable reduction of the system complexity and ease downstream testing/validation efforts. This paper describes a novel model-based design exploration and optimization process for the deployment of a set of software tasks on a dual-processor control module implementing a fail-safe strategy.
Technical Paper

Development of a Portable Acoustic Beamformer using FPGA Technology and Digital Microphones

This is an overview of the development of a portable, real-time acoustic beamformer based on FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) and digital microphones for noise source identification. Microphone arrays can be a useful tool in identifying noise sources and give designers an image of noise distribution. The beamforming algorithm is a classic and efficient algorithm for signal processing of microphone arrays and is the core of many microphone array systems. High-speed real-time beamforming has not been implemented much in a portable instrument because it requires large computational resources. Utilizing a beamforming algorithm running on a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), this camera is able to detect and locate both stationary and moving noise sources. A high-resolution optical camera located in the middle of the device records images at a rate of 25 frames per second. The use of the FPGA technology and digital microphones provides increased performance, reduced cost and weight.
Technical Paper

Tool Integration from Design to Test

The increasing number of features and complexity of today's automotive software architectures bring new challenges to the product development cycle. As a product is being developed, there is a need for information created during the early phases to flow seamlessly into subsequent phases. For example, information defined for an ECU during the design phase should be re-used when that ECU is tested during manufacture. Challenges often arise from the fact that one vendor's tools may be appropriate for design, but a different vendor's tools are best suited for manufacturing test. This paper discusses business and technical issues surrounding the transfer of information between such tools. Two case studies are used for discussion. One deals with databases describing signals transferred over an in-vehicle network and the other discusses simulation models as both transition from early designs through various test phases.
Journal Article

Methods and Tools for Calculating the Flexibility of Automotive HW/SW Architectures

To cope with the increasing number of advanced features (e.g., smart-phone integration and side-blind zone alert.) being deployed in vehicles, automotive manufacturers are designing flexible hardware architectures which can accommodate increasing feature content with as fewer as possible hardware changes so as to keep future costs down. In this paper, we propose a formal and quantitative definition of flexibility, a related methodology and a tool flow aimed at maximizing the flexibility of an automotive hardware architecture with respect to the features that are of greater importance to the designer. We define flexibility as the ability of an architecture to accommodate future changes in features with no changes in hardware (no addition/replacement of processors, buses, or memories). We utilize an optimization framework based on mixed integer linear programming (MILP) which computes the flexibility of the architecture while guaranteeing performance and safety requirements.