Remember your Physics 101 class? In it you were introduced to scalar and vector quantities, of which the first example most likely was velocity, a vector quantity that takes into account the rate at which an object changes its position. This, we learned, is why velocity differs from speed, which is a scalar quantity that can be thought of as how fast an object covers distance.
So what does any of this have to do with DevCon 2012? In the case of Renesas’ aptly named Velocity Lab (course 0C05B, “Introduction to Velocity Lab”), quite a lot.
Velocity Lab is a complete development ecosystem in which Renesas and its partners help engineers use Renesas MCUs more efficiently, productively and faster.
Let’s examine how both direction and speed relate in Velocity Lab. Changing direction in the automotive sector is limited by cost, time and the effort needed in any redesign. The ability to change direction when needed is facilitated by Velocity Labs’ combination of Renesas and third party development components (tools, interfaces, hardware and software) ,which can be used to generate all embedded software, including application, operating system and peripheral drivers, thus allowing for a more nimble design team that can react quickly to changing market needs.
Speed plays a role as the DevCon session demonstrates how Velocity Lab components can speed up development of embedded systems and perform system validation in a scalable manner, from virtual systems to real hardware.
There are four main features of Velocity Lab. The first is creating strategies for your solution in Simulink, a Mathworks product. Full model -based development is the second feature of the Velocity Lab environment. Here, complete production-level code can be generated in an integrated manner. Better still, you can generate code without writing a single line of C. Velocity Lab provides access to all source code and you can view and debug on screen. All of this is accomplished in a Simulink model so instead of having to integrate drivers through some API there is a Simulink block that you place right down and all the driver integration issues go away and you are controlling an actual I/O pin on a controller. The Simulink block bridges the gap between strategy and a Renesas target MCU. All of the registers and peripheral are taken care of.
The next aspect is a virtual development platform, a model of a Renesas MCU executing instructions just as it would in hardware, using the same instruction set. The MCU model runs at the same time as a Simulink plant model (say a four cylinder engine). The model executes the inputs and outputs of the MCU, showing via a GUI digital and analog signals and output executed– such as fuel, spark, PWMs, etc.
Velocity Lab has an intuitive user interface that allows for full MCU configuration without requiring detailed knowledge or specification of the controller. The plant model running in Simulink demonstrates characteristics such as mass air flow and oxygen sensors, engine speed, etc. The fully virtual platform requires no simulation hardware, and many debuggers connect to the microcontroller simulator to allow standard debug capabilities.
Lastly, for final validation of the model and generated code there is a real time platform. Here the program runs on a connected eval board using code generated earlier, with the same functionality and same operation as in the virtual platform. Plant mode runs the control strategy on a Renesas MCU on the eval board. You can hook up debuggers and you can look at signals on the eval board to provide further validation that what you simulated and the code generated early in the process is doing exactly what you want.
The DevCon automotive track will showcase several aspects of Velocity Lab, including AUTOSAR implementation (Session 0C13B “Working with AUTOSAR”). AUTOSAR is rapidly becoming the standard in the European auto industry and adoption in North America is set to accelerate significantly. DevCon provides an opportunity to get hands-on experience in setting up an AUTOSAR software stack.
Sound interesting? Register for DevCon now to secure a spot and once the session scheduler is available to registered attendees in mid-August, add session 0C05B and/or 0C13B to your schedule early to ensure a seat in these and other workshops you would like to attend.