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Closing the Loop: The HIL Preparedness Checklist

Posted by Jeff Philips on July 25, 2018

Guest post by Jeff Philips, Head of Automotive Marketing at National Instruments

You’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of Hardware in the Loop testing. But, before you begin, there are some common roadblocks you are likely to experience when setting up a new HIL system. You can avoid these by first assessing your preparedness for this transition whether it’s a desktop system or a full testing rack.  

1. An Internal Integration Group

Setting up HIL systems correctly to meet your current and future test needs is a significant time investment. In situations where there is no dedicated integration group or that integration group is already stretched thin with rapidly changing requirements across the company we often see difficulty. After initial setup, system maintenance, while certainly made easier by NI’s modular and flexible platform, also requires resources. Do you have an internal integration group?

2. A Fully Developed ECU

With the pressure of today’s testing schedule, your ECU is often being developed in parallel with your test system. This brings numerous challenges, as the signal details are unknown, and your tester design must account for yet undefined aspects of hardware and software. NI’s flexible platform is more forgiving here than alternatives, but serious foresight is still required under these circumstances to scope an initial system that resembles what your final implementation will look like. Is your ECU fully developed?

3. Solid Budget Estimates

Parallel development and testing timelines often create budget pressure, as when you’re scoping out your system in Q2 budgeting for Q1 of the following year, many variables are undefined. Then, when Q1 arrives and with it your fixed cost quote, you’re over budget because the system you now require is more than you anticipated back in Q2. Suddenly, that new tester that was going to revolutionize your team is a no-go and you’re back to the drawing board almost a year later. Are you confident in your budget estimates?

4. Documentation and Training

Too many great engineering feats are wasted on users who aren’t educated on the tools, and too many expensive hours are wasted on reverse engineering something someone else designed but didn’t document. Don’t let your new HIL system be one of those, by accounting for these needs up front. Depending on how different this is from your current testers consider budgeting in extra buffer as existing training templates and formats may have to be adapted. Have you accounted for documentation and training needs?

If you answered no to any of the questions in this short checklist, do not worry and rest assured that there are experts ready to help. These are our National Instruments HIL Specialty Partners, like Wineman Technology Inc.

These companies specialize in HIL solutions and work with you directly to deliver a system that meets your application needs while still allowing you to own the system and change it at any time after it gets delivered to you. They are experts at asking the questions above, and more, figuring out early what it is that you don’t know before it’s too late. 

Our HIL Specialty Partners also offer a range of services to meet your needs. If you want to hand them a requirements list and get back a turnkey solution they can do so. 

Alternately, if you have an internal integration group that wants to lead the design process but is just stretched a bit thin or new to the NI platform, they can offer their expertise to augment your team, helping avoid roadblocks but leaving you in the driver’s seat as you sit back, relax, and test today, the vehicles of tomorrow. 

Contact Wineman today to discover how you can leverage their expertise. In addition to being recognized as a HIL Specialty Partner in 2017, Wineman was recognized as the America’s Alliance Partner of the year in May 2018 and featured in an NIWeek keynote for their collaboration with NI to define the HIL reference design.

Topics: Hardware in the Loop