Processor-in-the-Loop Method: A Powerful Simulation Tool for Optimal Control Systems
FD-Groups America offers to its customers a complete Model Based Design (MBD) approach. Following the design and verification of the satisfactory behavior of a machine, the MBD approach can be extended to the control system development. Utilizing the digital twin, the control logic can be extracted and defined via the model-in-the-loop method (MIL), evaluated via the software-in-the-loop method (SIL) and then tested on the physical processor via the processor-in-the-loop method (PIL). Our engineering team has developed a specialized user library that makes the communication between a plant model and an Engine Control Unit (ECU) through a Controller Area Network (CAN) cable connected to a computer possible. Thanks to the integrated protocol of this library, synchronization between the model and the ECU facilitates the analyzation, debugging and improvement of the control software and hardware without derating the model’s physics resulting in accuracy and reliability. As opposed to the empirical approach, this advanced solution makes the development process possible from our office in which the control system’s response in critical situations can be validated without any risk for operators or machines. Furthermore, the PIL method cuts cost and time to market by delivering a nearly ready to use control system before any physical prototype manufacturing and testing. Applications on industrial cases including a hydrostatic transmission control, virtual intervention zones for a platform and the latest endeavor of autonomous driving of agricultural machinery will be presented.