The automotive industry is undergoing significant change: new technologies such as autonomous driving are leading to a continued increase in the complexity of vehicles and the dynamics of their development, meaning that, as a result, many new functionalities have to be validated quickly and reliably.
What is known as "connected mixed reality" (CMR) is created in this context by combining the advantages of HiL systems with the strengths of cloud technology in an intelligent manner. This gives rise to test environments with real, simulated and virtualized components. An important feature of CMR environments is their automatic configurability. All variations are possible, from a purely virtual simulation to a complete network with all control units of a vehicle. Tests on individual control units benefit from a realistic simulation of the rest of the vehicle.
The basis for CMR is a real-time container technology that allows simulations to be executed in a standard format (e.g. Docker). A wide variety of components can be involved in a test setup. This therefore necessitates standardized Ethernet-based middleware with real-time capability (e.g. a functional engineering platform, FEP).
A CMR platform allows a complete vehicle to be freely partitioned into real and simulated control units. When a test job is started, these are dynamically interconnected and are available again for other tests after the job has been executed. Depending on requirements, control units can also be made available multiple times in a test farm.
Complex environment and sensor simulations constitute another building block of CMR test setups. For example, elaborate 3D environment simulations or complex models from sensor manufacturers can be used. Control engineering models running in a virtual environment and a test automation solution such as EXAM complement the simulation. Operation and control is performed out via web interfaces as well as standardized interfaces (e.g. REST).
CMR environments enable continuous integration in the testing of ECUs and hence fully automated test sequences. A test environment will be configured automatically if a new software version becomes available for a control unit. The tests based on this environment then start and the results are stored. Subsequently, the resources are available for the next test.