NI and ETAS: A Partnership to Advance Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) Validation

Added: Over a year ago by NI

Vehicle manufacturers and suppliers are facing increasingly complex automotive systems and endless test scenarios to validate the operation of advanced driver assistance (ADAS) systems. The list continues to expand with each new consumer-driven innovation, and the reality is that there isn’t enough time to achieve robust testing on the road.

We’re excited to announce our joint venture with ETAS GmbH, ETAS NI Systems to help address the ever-evolving market. ETAS NI Systems is currently building pre-integrated HIL systems that aim to shorten design cycles, facilitate a reduced test time, and achieve faster time to market.

We spoke with Noah Reding, Director of Validation, Transportation at NI, to learn more about this partnership. Here's what he had to say:

What are you most excited about with this partnership?

Safer cars. Not only is the future of automotive technology pretty darn cool, but so is the realisation of what autonomous driving will mean for our entire society. It’s easy to lose sight of that when we’re in the weeds with our customers evaluating the issues that they face day to day, but the opportunity is real.

Specifically, the partnership brings together two companies with highly complementary strengths – ETAS with their expertise in developing and integrating HIL solutions and NI’s software-defined platform and comprehensive I/O capabilities.

What are some of the biggest challenges that automotive companies face while developing their electronic systems today?

It’s well understood that the challenge of developing test systems today is exacerbated by the rapid evolution of the underlying technology, but even the baseline task of developing HIL systems is quite complex. That complexity manifests itself through piecing together pieces from multiple companies into an integrated system. The disparate nature of the workflow is, in itself, one of the biggest challenges.

How will those challenges be met with this partnership?

1+1 = 3. The partnership between NI and ETAS means that automotive test companies can still take advantage of deep automotive expertise to effectively configure a unique HIL system, but also have that system built on top of a modular and customisable form factor comprised of off-the-shelf technology. That combination means the test team can both quickly get a system stood up, and have the ability to further customise that system over time as the requirements (undoubtedly) change again and again.

Why now and why ETAS? Was there a driving force for the two companies to come together?

The time is now, and that’s being dictated by customer needs. As software content in automotive systems continues to increase, the need for HIL testing will become more important. It’s the pace that the technology is changing that is creating the urgency for now. There’s a new option for standing up and standardising on HIL platforms, and the very nature of that new approach provides long-term value because of the inherent flexibility in the design of the system itself. ETAS makes perfect sense as the partner for NI here because they’re experts not just in automotive test, but specifically in designing, building, and servicing HIL systems on a global scale.

What has been the initial reaction you’ve seen from this news?

Excitement, and curiosity. The nature of the partnership required anti-trust approvals in a handful of markets, and those processes dictated what information could be shared. Even with that, the reaction that we’ve seen in the market matches our own level of excitement and anticipation. Automotive test engineers are hungry for a new approach to test, and we are confident that the partnership gets us significantly closely to providing it.

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