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Simulation & Control


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As vehicle designs become increasingly complicated, and product development schedules are more and more aggressive, conventional testing methods involving multiple physical prototypes in turn are becoming far too time-consuming and expensive. Unexpected results along the way cause slips in schedules, increased costs, and potentially lead to products that fall short of initial design and market requirements.

In order to remain competitive, many companies have adopted simulation-driven development processes. Simulation and modeling allows important decisions on functionality, structure, and trade-offs to balance competing objectives, such as reliability and cost, to be made long before a physical prototype is created. As a result, fewer of these prototypes are required, significantly reducing costs, and they can be inserted near the end of the development cycle, more to validate than to develop the design. In addition, models representing a number of design alternatives can be modified, analyzed and evaluated at a fraction of the time and cost.

Challenges

Adding simulation to the development process introduces numerous challenges, including:

  • Correlation - The main thing when adding simulation is ensuring that the simulation correlates with the physical system that you are replacing (e.g. for the given inputs, the simulation produces the same outputs as the physical system)
  • Latency - Part of the correlation challenge is latency. If a system includes both physical and simulated devices, then the simulation must run in real-time and produce its outputs with the same latency as the full physical system that it is replacing
  • Size - In order to create a simulation that correlates with the physical system, the simulation can become quite large - real-time system can be overwhelmed
  • Complexity - One solution to the size problem is to break the simulation into pieces and run them on different processors in parallel. This can solve the throughput problem, but introduces more complexity
  • Replaceability - The real-time systems used to run the simulation must have all of the I/O available to replace the physical systems

The A&D Solution

To address these challenges, A&D Technology offers a family of real-time platforms for control algorithm prototyping, hardware-in-the-loop simulation, customized dedicated test systems, production-intent system-on-modules (SOMs), and turnkey engine control systems. The various platforms are high-speed, real-time measurement, control and simulation systems that can be configured for a wide variety of applications. MATLAB/Simulink models run with a real-time Linux-based operating system, and can be downloaded and controlled from a Windows PC-based GUI generation and configuration tool: AD-VirtualConsole. In addition, control of the system can be passed to other host platform software, such as our iTest data acquisition and control package.

The versatile, multi-purpose ADX products are available in two application-specific packages and three standard hardware architectures. In addition, the systems are offered as generic real-time platforms, where the unit can be programmed for a specific purpose, such as control prototyping or high-speed data acquisition and signal processing. The turnkey, application-specific solutions include ADX Flexible Engine Control and Andromeda. Flexible Engine Control is available only on the ADX unit, while Andromeda is offered in both ADX and Procyon form-factors. Andromeda is used for model-based (simulation-based) control in hardware-in-the-loop testing applications.

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