Typically, engineers check a vehicle’s performance and safety on a test course or public road after the car is finished. But the increased demand for electric vehicles combined with compressed timelines for testing add to the long-standing challenges of road testing like changing weather and fluctuating road conditions. This makes the challenge of testing more complex—and engineers’ jobs more challenging.
To help with shorter development cycles and the pressure to reduce cost, major automotive manufacturers like Subaru are using our hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) technology to reduce test time and costs by simulating the road tests in software.
Subaru replaced the roads in the validation tests with an NI HIL simulation solution built on NI PXI products and LabVIEW software. This eliminates environmental factors while thoroughly and efficiently testing a vehicle’s embedded controller before running real-world diagnostics on the complete system.
By simulating these conditions, Subaru lowered purchasing costs to a third the cost of alternative solutions and kept software development costs to one-sixth of the price of an outside developer.
Subaru didn’t stop there. It outfitted its vehicle test solution with HORIBA’s controller-driven dynamometer and CarSim vehicle dynamics simulation software, producing real-world load conditions.
The calculated values are transmitted to the NI HIL system in real time to create closed-loop control between the models on the two systems. As a result, the HIL interaction system can apply the appropriate load to the vehicle throughout the tests.
As opposed to the traditional “black box” solutions that other vendors provide, Subaru elected to build its own HIL system. In addition to the benefits provided for this project, Subaru can also further reuse this system for the next series of validation tests. For example, Subaru plans to use this test system during the final quality check stages of development for electric vehicles, and eventually expand its use for all car types. By adopting this system, Subaru can cut labor hours in half.