Real-time sequence testing of an automotive electric machine control systems

Paper #:
  • 2018-01-0004

  • 2018-04-03
Recent reports highlighted the increasing demand for new features in road-going vehicles through electronics and software. Electronic control systems are expected to respond to input demands in real-time (circa: milliseconds) to ensure occupant and road user safety and comfort. System complexity and real-time computing requirements create significant challenges in proving the robustness of control systems, here robustness is the degree to which a system can function correctly in the presence of unexpected inputs. Despite the efforts of many vehicle manufacturers, evidence shows that faults still escape to customers incurring large warranty costs. This implies that existing test methods can be ineffective with the primary focus being on requirements validation. Evidence from other industries, e.g. IT and medical, suggests that difficult to find faults manifest due to complex interactions and sequences of events which can cause race conditions. Yet there is little evidence within the literature pointing to effective sequence testing within real-time test environments. Research in model based software design, test optimisation and formal methods - mathematical based approaches to prove robustness, is abundant in literature. However, modelling and simulation has scalability challenges being computationally intensive, requiring prohibitively excessive time to implement. Model based approaches also need to abstract the concept of “time” making them unsuitable for real-time testing. Generating sequences of input events in itself is well understood within the literature, but the effective selection of the “time between events” (TBE) to elicit faults is not well researched. A novel approach to generate real-time sequence tests distinguishing the TBE parameter as in generating test cases is presented. For our real-world case study a safety monitoring system deployed in a prototype embedded electric machine control system is tested with 4500 3-way event sequence tests. Preliminary results indicate that the approach is effective in finding counter examples that violate the requirements.
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