In the face of stringent functional safety requirements, performing exhaustive testing of automotive systems has become a complex, costly, and time-consuming endeavor. Traditionally, vehicle developers have tested automotive applications in the field. Because this requires a working vehicle, the testing has happened late in the development cycle. It is also time-consuming and costly, since it requires people to drive the car, interpret the data collected, adjust the software, and so on. Virtual prototyping, on the other hand, supports automotive model-based design methodologies. As a result, automotive semiconductor, tier one, and OEM companies can deploy a more efficient development environment for early hardware/software development, integration, and testing.
There are, however, some serious scalability demands on virtual prototyping hardware. This is where cloud technologies can help. Cloud-based virtual prototyping takes advantage of the virtually unlimited capacity of the cloud, providing the flexibility to scale up or down based on the evolving demands of the design project at any given moment.
Virtual testing in public, private, or hybrid clouds using virtual prototypes can be done earlier in the cycle with fewer resources and cost. Based on abstract software simulation models for SoC and hardware systems, virtual prototypes can be developed at the same time as RTL hardware design, shifting the whole process left for faster time-to-market. What’s more, a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) approach can benefit from cloud-based virtual prototyping. With CI, software development teams can address incompatibility issues early on as they merge their code changes into a shared mainline code repository to test functionality, performance, safety, and security. Paired with CI is CD, in which any code build that successfully passes all automated tests is deployed into production. Applying virtual prototypes in a CI/CD setup increases productivity, as it provides for timely dispersion of builds to all the team’s programmers and systems.
Cloud-based virtual prototyping enables fast development and testing of software before deployment through over-the-air (OTA) updates. Simultaneous software testing can be spread across many cloud instances, expanding test coverage, lowering its costs, and enabling detection of errors earlier in the cycle.