Automotive electronics has been transformed by a series of dramatic changes over the last two decades. What are the main implications of this shift for engineers who need software testing tools to detect timing problems and conduct effective code coverage measurement?

The adoption of multiplex wiring has enabled the integration of advanced features such as stability control systems, active suspension and hybrid drive-trains as well as advanced engine management and transmission control systems.

At the same time, these compute-intensive applications required the adoption of the latest high performance embedded microprocessors. Over time, as the functionality provided by Electronic Control Units (ECUs) became more complex, so the job of testing for correct functional and, in particular, correct timing behaviour grew ever more difficult.

Now the number of breakdowns that can be traced back to bugs in automotive electronic systems has been estimated at over 50%. In 2003 alone, warranty expenditure by automotive companies in the US exceeded $11Bn, with as much as half of this expenditure related to problems with embedded software. With production delays, no-fault-found ECU replacements and damage to the company’s reputation, the impact of intermittent software glitches is considerable.

As a consequence, interest in engineering approaches and tools that can detect potential timing problems during development and conduct effective code coverage measurement has increased.

Rapita Systems developed RVS Auto for software developers working on high-integrity automotive applications. RVS Auto increases the efficiency of testing processes, aids identification of performance bottlenecks, and is designed for the typical resource constrained embedded environment.

RVS Auto consists of RapiTime Auto (for on-target timing verification) and RapiCover Auto (on-target code coverage measurement).

Supporting automotive processors, compilers and real-time operating systems which meet AUTOSAR and OSEK standards, RVS Auto is for engineers working with micro-controllers of 8 bits upwards, whether using real-time operating systems or not, and helps meet the verification requirements of ISO 26262.

RVS Auto:

  • provides advanced timing measurement and optimisation capabilities, and coverage metrics including Call pair, Statement, Decision and MC/DC;
  • supports all microprocessors and DSPs, including Power PC; ARM; Infineon Tricore; C167 (and derivatives); Freescale HC12/HCS12/HCS12X; NEC V850; MIPS; TI TMS320 and others;
  • works with most C and C++ compilers and runs on Microsoft Windows (XP, 2000, Vista, 7) and Linux.