NashTech Insights

Embedded Software: Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) Simulation

Nhan Nguyen Hoang
Nhan Nguyen Hoang
Table of Contents

What Is Hardware in the Loop (HIL)?

Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation is a method used to validate control algorithms on a target controller by creating a virtual real-time environment that emulates the physical system to be controlled. HIL simulations enable the testing of control algorithm behavior without the need for physical prototypes. Here is a basic HIL test system:

Where is HIL used?

HIL is used in various industries and fields where the hardware/physical devices are not available in development, testing. Here are some common areas:

Those are some sample. I believe that other areas are also using HIL to verify their products.

HIL Simulation and Testing

The main objective of HIL testing is to test the hardware device on a simulator before we implement it on the real devices. By combining real hardware components with simulated elements, HIL testing allows engineers to evaluate the system’s response to various scenarios, environmental conditions, and faults.

HIL is also used to test new features on an identical hardware-software integration system within the workshop, prior to deployment in the field. This allows for regression testing of updates, ensuring all features operate as intended and providing a high level of confidence in the effectiveness of software deployment.

HIL tools

There are several HIL tools and platforms available in the market that are designed to facilitate hardware-in-the-loop simulation and testing:

dSPACE: dSPACE offers a comprehensive range of HIL testing solutions, including hardware platforms, software tools, and simulation models. Their HIL systems provide high-performance real-time simulation and interfacing capabilities for various industries, such as automotive, aerospace, and industrial automation.

National Instruments (NI) VeriStand: NI provides HIL testing solutions through their NI VeriStand software platform. It offers a flexible and customizable environment for configuring and executing HIL simulations, along with a wide range of hardware modules for interfacing with real systems.

MathWorks: MathWorks offers Simulink Real-Time, a software tool that enables real-time simulation and testing using MATLAB and Simulink. It provides an integrated development environment for HIL testing and supports various hardware platforms.

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Nhan Nguyen Hoang

Nhan Nguyen Hoang

I am a Senior Test Manager with 20+ years of experience in the software testing industry. With a strong background in computer science, I have managed testing projects across various domains successfully. I am now responsible for overseeing and managing the testing team in software development projects to ensure the quality of software applications.

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