ACOSAR project enables system simulation early in design

November 16, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Stricter emission legislation, rising complexity and the demand for an ever-increasing number of variations pose significant challenges to European carmakers. To reduce development time and cost, the companies along the automotive R&D value chain intend to establish a system that enables co-simulation of complex real-time systems along with its environment in a holistic system. With such a virtual environment as the long-term goal, the ACOSAR project consortium has started to first develop a systems interface that enables multiple project partners to interconnect virtual real-time-systems across large distances.

Insights into systems cost and behaviour already at an early stage of development enables carmakers and suppliers to make decisions about system variants and technologies. To facilitate the development of such tools, the ACOSAR consortium plans to add real-time capability to the existing concept of co-simulation: Multiple hardware components on automated test stands then can be directly integrated into the overall system model. Extending co-simulation to the world of real-time systems makes it possible to apply the simulation approach throughout the entire product development process. ACOSAR stands for Advanced Co-Simulation Open System Architecture; consortium members include car OEMs Porsche, Renault and Volkswagen, automotive suppliers AVL List and Bosch, development tool vendors dSpace and and ETAS as well as the Technical University of Graz (Austria). The project is managed by the Virtual Vehicle research centre in Graz.

While for the virtual world there is already a widely accepted standard – Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) – a similar standard for real-time systems that also includes data communication across networks is still missing. “FMI significantly eases the exchange of simulation models across tools; tool vendors now need to support only one inter-tool interface”, says Torsten Blochwitz, R&D manager at simulation tool vendor ITI GmbH. “We expect a similar effect from the standardising efforts for real-time systems within ACOSAR.”

The project partners now develop what they call the Advanced Co-Simulation Interface (ACI), enabling automotive system developers to connect geographically dispersed real-time systems to one virtual overall system, even if the components of this system are from different vendors. The standardisation will help reducing the configuration effort and thus increase the efficiency of tests and simulations. An example: For automated driving, a variety of sensors from different vendors are required. ACI enables developers to integrate such heterogeneous sensors and take into account their behaviour much earlier in the design cycle that before. Besides saving on time and cost, ACI also will enable innovative ways of