New Cruden dSPACE integration package makes easy work of combining driver and hardware-in-the-loop simulations


From ECUs to actuators, Cruden has made adding controller hardware to a driving simulator, or integrating a driving simulator with a test rig, a quick and simple affair for customers, as recently demonstrated by the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences.


Cruden has developed a time-saving integration package that combines hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) set-ups and driver-in-the-loop (DIL) simulators, which increases the potential of simulation in automotive research and development. An example of a Cruden driver simulator merged with a dSPACE HIL set-up was recently commissioned at the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Germany, where students can integrate any hardware they like into their Cruden driving simulator.


HIL set-ups, for the purpose of testing sensors, controllers and actuators for example, often rely on synthetic or pre-recorded input signals that lack the typical closed loop behaviour of a human driver. DIL simulators on the other hand include that interactive driver but may have imprecise models of the actual hardware, because specific components are either too complex to simulate in full detail or controllers have many unknowns, coming as black boxes from suppliers. To further complicate the situation, companies and institutions then often end up using multiple independent and unrelated simulation setups at the same time, necessitating validation of multiple models and correlating data from these setups before being able to use it for the actual research and development task at hand.


The Cruden-delivered solution combines the company’s Panthera simulator software’s open architecture and flexibility with the near endless hardware interfacing capabilities of dSPACE hard real-time (HRT) systems and the open and real-time-capable dSPACE ASM (Automotive Simulation Models) simulation tool suite, to create the ultimate development and testing system. dSPACE and ASM become the third point in a triangle where they have direct communication with the simulator motion system and the Panthera software, which is the main simulation engine. Cruden’s Panthera ePhyse HRT toolbox includes a Simulink block set optimised for use on the dSPACE system. It is an integrated solution to setup IO between the dSPACE platform and the simulator environment. In the combined system, initializing the simulator session is as simple as selecting the ASM model of choice and clicking a start session button in the GUI, which activates all relevant subsystems in the setup. 


“The development of this capability is good news for automotive R&D teams that want to invest and work in a hard real-time platform and align the processes and platforms of their DIL and HIL test departments. We have worked hard on the usability of this system. We haven’t proverbially duct-taped the motion system to the dSPACE box, we have ensured seamless integration throughout the entire system. Before, companies would have to buy a simulator and then buy an off- the-shelf dSPACE system and integrate the two themselves. We’ve done all that hard work for them, to provide a complete functional set-up that works out straight of the box,” says Martijn de Mooij, technical development manager at Cruden.


“Our focus is to save customers time and unnecessary effort by undertaking the simulator development and integration work for them. Too often we see engineers struggling to combine various systems into one test rig, leading to them using the systems separately and having to deal with discrepancies in the output ” adds Martijn.


The only hardware change required is the replacement of the conventional Windows-based computer (which sends output to the motion, audio and visual systems) in the soft real-time (SRT) setup with a dSPACE system. The package brings additional advantages of being able to integrate peripheral hardware, such as instruments or other HMI equipment, over standard available interfaces like CAN.


"The Cruden-dSPACE setup is a masterpiece of well-integrated simulation solutions," explains Michael Peperhowe, group manager modeling ASM at dSPACE. "Cruden’s powerful driving simulator combined with our real-time vehicle simulation systems are a perfect choice to enable these demanding DIL applications and equip them with the necessary capabilities."


Experience of Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences


Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences utilises its dSPACE-Cruden system for both educational and research purposes within its mechanical engineering and mechatronic departments. The development cycle of any mechatronic component consists of three main stages: model in the loop, software-in-the-loop and hardware-in- the-loop. “For us, there was a gap because the driver is not involved in any of these three stages,” says Marian Göllner, research assistant at the Ostfalia university and member of Professor Liu-Henke’s research group for control engineering and automotive mechatronics. “We feel that the only way to achieve a complete and valid simulation is to gain drivers’ feedback throughout the development process. To do this we purchased a Cruden DIL simulator, which is now the fourth and final stage of our simulation cycle.”

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