Virtual ECU development environment awarded at CDN Live

May 10, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the CND Live Cadence user meeting this week in Munich, a master thesis focusing on hardware/software co-design aspects was honored with the first prize: Master student Phillip Wehner from the Ruhr University Bochum impressed the prize committee with his implementation of a virtual automotive ECU design environment.

The platform models a Xilinx Zynq-7000 high-performance FPGA, functioning as an automotive ECU, running an adaptive cruise control (ACC) application. The application is mapped in part on the ARM9 processor embedded in the Zynq-7000; other parts are running on the simulated FPGA hardware.

The virtual PFGA was implemented in SystemC. The method enables designers to significantly reduce the time-to-market for their developments - hardware prototypes become obsolete. Another benefit is that it eases reactions to changes in specs. In Wehner's master thesis, the virtual prototype can be connected directly to a car simulator, enabling real drivers to immediately assess how changes and modifications affect the driving behavior of the system. In this simulator, the "LabCar", the driving environment is visualized on large monitors in front of and at the sides of the LabCar. The ECUs under test are activated through regular operating controls by the driver; actuators in the LabCar provide a perceptible feedback.