Jayaram Pillai, managing director of NI Systems, says the trend now is of mating of an increasing number of functions in a typical vehicle with ECUs to optimise efficiency and longevity. Therefore, it calls for shorter lead times to develop these control units. “We are focusing on the RCP of ECUs,” he says.
The RCP is usually applied with custom off-the-shelf hardware. The company has a platform that allows the user to pursue RCP by quickly prototyping the ECU itself. Anything that enables users to quickly build products is valued by automotive customers, as the time-to-market is increasingly becoming shorter. This is because vehicle lifecycles are getting shorter.
ECUs when made need another element to complete the development and also validate the product, which is called HIL. It is not enough if an ECU is developed in the shortest possible lead time without actually testing in the real conditions. However, testing in real conditions is always not possible; therefore, it is necessary to simulate the end application.
The diverse challenges of faster time to market, greater reliability, and increasing product complexity necessitate an HIL test platform that provides efficiency in development and maintenance, scalability to meet diverse and rapidly changing requirements and innovation to deliver the latest advances in technology to the applications.
The company’s HIL platform provides these facilities through an open hardware and software platform, wider variety, value, and availability of products. Besides, it offers real-time multi-core and field programmable gate array technology, global service support, partner expertise and a test platform that can be used from requirements to conduct to manufacturing.
“RCP and HIL are the two emerging areas. We are already into these areas but now we are focusing on them more aggressively. We continue with testing electronics, production, telematics, crash and endurance. Our approach is to continue serving our customers with tools that they can build faster. Our value proposition continues to be the same that we proposed to the test and measurement world. Engineers can assemble an RCP or HIL system with our tools and the advantage is that it is now very generic. i.e. one RCP programme can be reprogrammed for another similar system. This brings the uniformity of systems the customers will have,” says Pillai.
The challenge is to address the inter-operability of several ECUs that a vehicle has today, he says. Also, NI India is looking at offering low- cost solutions. “We have a framework at National Instruments and we are looking at how to come up with creative ways to serve our customers. Building a cheap product for India is not an answer. We need to develop products with a combination of good features at affordable cost,” he signs off.