Vehicle system testing is undergoing radical changes driven by need for greater energy efficiency, reduced emissions and improved safety for both vehicle occupants and pedestrians.
“This has a direct impact on approaches to the testing of powertrain and other components and systems,” says DEWETRON, a leading supplier of test and measurement systems to a range of industries, including the automotive sector. Nearly all the “big names in the industry” use DEWETRON equipment to test systems and components in powertrains, emission systems, EV, hybrids, batteries, chassis structure, driver assistance, and noise and vibration systems.
To find out more about these trends, Automotive Industries (AI) asked Raimund Trummer, director product marketing, DEWETRON to tell us more about the advanced test and measurement solutions required.
Trummer: Instruments must be modular and scalable in terms of hardware and software. High flexibility is a preferred feature and systems must offer recording of vastly different signals and protocols. Technology such as our SYNC-CLOCK is required to synchronize all sources at the point of recording, in order to enable extremely efficient and fast analysis.
AI: What makes your solutions ideal for the automo¬tive industry?
Trummer: We offer innovative modular and scalable data acquisition systems with special technologies to enable extremely efficient analyses.
Our solutions are developed in partnership with automotive test engineers. Besides great analog signal conditioning, digital and encoder inputs, we support the synchronized re¬cording of multiple CAN busses, FlexRay and XCP parameters for time saving in-depth analyses. Multiple hardware synchronized video streams enable a whole new level of understanding the test data. Sophisticated sensor systems like Kistler´s RoaDyn2000 wheel vector sensor are fully supported by our software. Test procedures can be easily and quickly set up, and the operator is guided through the runs. Online signals can be observed at all times, and results are available imme¬diately without any post processing. In the first quarter of 2012 we plan to introduce a complementary product family designed spe¬cifically for automotive applications.
AI: How has the rising demand for EVs and hybrids impacted your business strategy?
Trummer: For us this development was very welcome. We have been active in automotive and power for many years and understand the specific needs of both merging industries very well. Our strategy was, and is: power analyzer goes automotive.
AI: Tell us a little about your solutions for the EV and hybrid vehicle markets.
Trummer: The special challenge in EV and hybrid testing is the precise power measurement required to optimize efficiency. The frequency inverters run at high speeds, and thus broadband input modules and high sampling rates are needed for precise measurements. Our solution is unique due to two factors: First, the DEWETRON power analyzer can measure any additional analog signals, counters, GPS, video plus CAN bus or FlexRay – all fully synchronized. Second, our power analyzer can run multiple power modules at the same time to measure motors, battery and intermediate circuits. This enables extremely efficient analyses based on robust high precision measurement data.
AI: What gives SYNC-CLOCK an edge over other systems?
Trummer: It provides synchronized recording of all sensors and sensor systems. Analog signals like acceleration, temperature, strain, pressure, force, etc. are directly connected to the instruments as well as CAN-bus, FlexRay, XCP, GPS, digital states, counters, encoders and up to eight hardware synchronized video cameras. Major sensor systems like Kistler Roadyn 2000 wheel force transducers or GeneSys ADMA INS/GPS can also be connected to the clock lines for perfect sync. By automatically synchronizing all data, analysis and processing is made faster and easier than ever, with editing and analysis times reduced by up to 50 %. At the same time, the quality of the results is improved by a factor of 5 – 10.
AI: How you see the new ISO/DIS 26262 draft standard affecting the automotive industry?
Trummer: With ISO 26262, the automotive industry has available for the first time an objective standard for functional safety. One of the key requirements is to determine the ASIL, Automotive Safety Integrity Level, by simulating potential malfunctions under specific driving conditions. The ASIL classification measures the severity of the effect of the condition on the vehicle, the frequency of the driving situation, and driver controllability. A well-defined method for risk and hazard analysis is specified, but the three parameters offer quite a big interpretation range, which means that know-how and experience are essential for practical application. DEWETRON has developed an objective, data-driven measurement solution for driver controllability – which is still regarded by some as a subjective test. Our system provides driver guidance for predefined manoeuvres, and it automatically determines lane deviation or delta yaw rates during those manoeuvres. It is the first test tool to combine synchronized measurement of all vehicle data with high-precision position information of the vehicle, and with ABS/VDC internal data via XCP.
AI: What are some of the current and future challenges in the automotive testing and measurement field?
Trummer: One of the major challenges is to make the data acquisition system independent from any external power to not load the vehicles power grid. DEWETRON has already achieved this for all its instruments, with hot-swap battery technology to ensure no data is lost. Another challenge is that more and more channels are needed for increasingly deep analysis. This is a challenge for busy automotive test engineers, who are working within always tighter deadlines. Thus, setup times and the installation of the data acquisition systems into the vehicles must be optimized. Analysis needs to be done online, and the results must be available right after the test.
Future challenges are related to the increasing intelligence of vehicles and infrastructure. Testing is becoming significantly more difficult as the number of communication systems within a vehicle increases. Tests will have to cater for scenarios with multiple vehicles, pedestrians and even parts of the infrastructure – which means that synchronized measurement and online data transfer to a master system will gain importance. DEWETRON already offers solutions for such scenarios.