Development environment allows ECU software development without hardware

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Renesas has unveiled an integrated development environment that enables the rapid development of software for automotive ECUs with multiple hardware devices. The integrated environment supports co-simulation, debugging and tracing, high-speed simulation and distributed processing software across multiple SoCs and MCUs, even before the corresponding hardware is available. This development environment addresses the trend in the automotive industry towards software-first product development. The value of a vehicle is increasingly defined by its software. It also enables the shift-left software design approach, which focuses on verification and validation of the software early in the development cycle when the hardware is not yet available. The first tools for the development environment are available now for the R-Car S4 and RH850/U2A devices.

With the development environment, Renesas aims to help its automotive customers implement software-first development approaches and transform their E/E architectures, said Hirofumi Kawaguchi, vice president of Renesas’ Automotive Software Development Division.

By integrating and connecting simulators such as the R-Car Virtual Platform, which were previously provided for single devices such as SoCs and microcontrollers, the new development environment provides a new capability for simulations when using multiple devices. Designs can now be optimised by aligning different application functions and integrating system-level software verification. A development tool that automatically generates software code for electronic devices and a simulation environment to verify MATLAB /Simulink models are also available. With these tools, developers can evaluate performance and begin application development before hardware and ECUs go into production.

To easily visualise the internal workings of software, the company provides a debug and trace tool. This enables concurrent and synchronised execution, execution control through breakpoints and tracing of data for ECUs with multiple devices. With this tool, users can visualise processing sequences, evaluate performance profiles and anticipate problems that may arise from the operation of multiple devices that are closely linked within the same ECU.

In ECU-level simulations, the target software is usually very large and simulation execution takes a long time. The new high-speed simulator is based on QEMU, an open-source virtual environment. This models the SoCs and microcontrollers at a high level of abstraction and enables faster simulation of complex software at ECU level.



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