Automotive Testing in the Virtual World

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Even before the COVID-19 global pandemic hit, people were doing more things virtually – shopping, working, connecting with friends and family. In March, with the onset of COVID-19 in the U.S., use of the Internet rose 50-70% (Forbes), thanks to a significant increase in people working from home, children attending online school lessons and people gaming and streaming movies and TV while stuck at home.  

Whereas some people are new to this virtual world, embedded systems engineers like those at ETAS are well aware of the benefits a virtual environment provides. As vehicles become increasingly more complex and the software content grows, vehicle development experts are relying on simulation or virtual testing of vehicle systems to recreate real-world scenarioseliminating the need to develop a physical part or test vehicle to identify and correct problemsAdditional benefits include: 

  • Reducing the time and cost to travel to environments that provide desired testing scenarios (weather, altitude, etc.)
  • Recreating real-world scenarios on-demand
  • Being able to customize the testing of one technology from vehicle to vehicle
  • Testing occurring earlier in development process, shortening the time to market
  • Developing software and hardware in parallel
  • Streamlining the amount of testing needed as technologies become more advanced
  • Safely testing critical or hazardous situations

Today, simulation/virtualization is highly efficient and effective development and testing methodology for embedded systems; it does not completely eliminate the need for real-world testing, especially for safety technologies. There are a variety of solutions available, each with their own specific use cases and benefits.   

The future for simulation and virtualization processes is bright. The increase in PC performance and cloud computing providing nearly infinite power offers additional opportunities for more advanced and complex technologies. Also, overall vehicle optimization is enhanced – in a virtual car, you can try millions of settings to identify which provides the best results, allowing for more efficient or higher performing vehicles.    

This is part 1 of a 4-part blog series, where we will highlight ETAS virtualization applications – calibration, verification and validation, software engineering – and discuss when they should be used and how they can benefit you and your customers.

If you want to learn more about the use cases and how simulation/virtualization can help you, please contact us. 

Next in the series: “Virtual Calibration – Reducing Resources, Time”