FERAL - a holistic model-driven simulation framework for virtual prototypes

Embedded systems grow continuously larger and become more complex while development time frames decrease. Virtual system development is one approach that helps developers to meet this challenge. It enables evaluation of decisions already early in development processes, and substantiates them with facts, e.g. regarding the performance of a particular system architecture or communication technology. This requires the ability for holistic system simulations with sufficient accuracy and manageable complexity. In the past, this has often been realized by tailored solutions. Development of tailored solutions is, however, time consuming and expensive.

Therefore, we have developed our model-driven simulation framework as a generic solution for the design of virtual prototypes, which supports rapid coupling of existing simulators. We used our framework to integrate MATLAB Simulink and a simulator for the Controller Area Network (CAN), an widely used industrial communication system. Our visualization views allow domain experts to inspect the simulated scenario in detail. Together with our automatic compliance checking, points of interests such as violations of timing constraints or invalid values (e.g. range violations of returned values), can be detected automatically to focus or automatize an inspection.

In the following demonstration video, we apply the integrated simulators to study behavior and performance of a simplified antilock braking system (ABS) modeled with Matlab Simulink. All nodes of the antilock braking system are connected with a single CAN bus. The subsequent video introduces the basic ideas of our simulation framework and demonstrate its capabilities and different visualization views to inspect the behavior of our ABS scenario.

The FERAL simulator coupling framework has been developed as part of the Constructive Software Engineering for Parallel Architectures project of the Innovation Center Applied System Modeling as cooperation between the University of Kaiserslautern and the Fraunhofer institut in Kaiserslautern.

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