Virtual Calibration – Reducing Resources, Time
Virtual Calibration

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This is part 2 of our blog series on virtualization where we highlight applications for embedded systems. In our previous post, “Automotive Testing in the Virtual World”, we looked at the increasing need for simulation and virtual testing of vehicle systems with more people working from home. In addition, we outlined the benefits of a virtual environment, including reduced travel time and costs, testing earlier in the development process, streamlining testing and safely testing critical or hazardous situations.  

This post is focused on a specific application – virtual calibration – a solution that addresses OEMs’ shortage of budget, time and people with the right skills to properly perform all the calibration activities needed to launch a new vehicle. It also provides value in product development as well as post-production where it can help avoid costly warranty fixes by finding the root cause of the issue – a calibration correction costs significantly less than replacing parts. 

The benefits go on and on 

Virtual calibration can be applied through all product development phases, giving engineers the opportunity to identify feature changes or fix bugs early, providing a cost savings. In addition, the development cycle is shortened because you can calibrate on a component basis and changes can be applied in the next design level rather than at the end or waiting for the ECU software to be available. And unlike “traditional” calibration, engineers can develop and calibrate work packages in parallel, not only sequential. This allows for updating models or designs, making more accurate engineering estimates and aids when integrating sub systems.  

Requiring less resources and reliance on hardware because most things can be done and simulated on a PC, virtual calibration eliminates the need for an actual ECU or vehicle and allows engineers to conduct a wider array of testing. This is key for EV and ADAS component development where it is difficult and requires extensive effort to cover all scenarios in the real world. And because it’s virtual you can test for a specific situation on-demand and, if the simulation supports it, run in adaptive time to get results faster than real time. For example, if you are interested in the results of a 30-minute driving cycle, you don’t have to sit in front of the PC for 30 minutes – you can simulate it in a matter of seconds depending on your computational resources.  

Your must-have elements 

Virtual calibration provides a lot of benefits, but how do you realize them? There are two critical elements: a virtual ECU and plant models. Though a virtual ECU requires additional software, it can be developed in tandem with the hardware. We’ll cover this topic in more detail in our software engineering post of our series. Your plant models are important because they will help make the ECU believe it’s in its “normal” environment. However, it needs to be transparent to the calibration engineer whether the work is performed virtually or on a real target. It’s also important to not introduce additional tools to calibration engineers through virtualization.  

ETAS solutions 

As a global provider of calibration tools to automakers and suppliers, our team of experts have developed a suite of virtual calibration solutions.

  • ISOLAR-EVE is a powerful virtual ECU environment that accelerates the integration and testing of ECU software, helping customers develop the critical virtual ECUs.
  • ETAS ASCMO creates data-driven plant models, which are needed if no physical models are available or too complex to develop (e.g. engine raw emissions). It accurately models, analyzes and optimizes behavior of complex systems with a small amount of measurements and advanced algorithms.
  • LABCAR-MODEL products provide plant models motivated by physical equations (e.g. vehicle dynamics) required for reliable testing. The models are characterized by their real-time capability, high accuracy and quick, easy parameterization.
  • COSYM (CO-simulation of SYsteMs) is a platform for simulation and integration, making all elements – virtual ECU, physical- and data-driven models – communicate with one another. Because validation of legislative emission compliance requires extensive statistical evaluation, a cloud-based simulation is ideal. COSYM is an enabler of simulating raw and tailpipe emissions under real-driving scenarios through significant parallelization in the cloud. In addition to cloud-based simulation, COSYM can support simulation on a laptop or real-time PC, and provides seamless switching between model-in-the-loop (MiL), software-in-the-loop (SiL) and hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) scenarios.
  • INCA provides front-end tools to the calibration engineer acting as an interface to COSYM and applicable to any method of calibration – virtual, test cell, vehicle. INCA tools are used for ECU development, testing, validation and calibration.

Virtual calibration provides a lot of benefits for today’s engineers, whether they are working remotely or from the office  – time and cost savings, more thorough testing, shortened development cycle and more.  Next up in our series – virtual validation and verification  

If you want to learn more about our virtual calibration solutions, contact us. 

Tobias Gutjahr       Franz Foltz
ETAS Virtual Calibration Experts