Integrated development environment enables automotive software development at the ECU level

Article by: Renesas Electronics Corp.

The fully integrated environment supports co-simulation, debugging and tracing, high-speed simulation, and distributed processing software across multiple SoCs and MCUs.

The new integrated development environment from Renesas Electronics Corp. allows engineers to quickly create software for automotive ECUs (electronic control units) containing multiple hardware devices.

The fully integrated environment supports co-simulation, debug and trace, high-speed simulation, and distributed processing software across multiple SoCs (systems on chips) and MCUs (microcontrollers), all without the need for real material. This software development environment recognizes the automotive industry’s move towards “Software First” product development, in which the value of a vehicle is increasingly defined by its software, as well as the software design approach “Shift Left,” which emphasizes software verification and validation earlier in the development cycle, before hardware is available. The first development environment tools are now available for R-Car S4 and RH850/U2A devices.

“Renesas is committed to providing a development environment that helps our automotive customers achieve their vision of Software First, while continuing to support their evolution toward Shift Left software development,” said Hirofumi Kawaguchi, vice president of automotive software development division of Renesas. “We believe this development environment will help our customers transform their E/E architecture and facilitate early development of ECUs and new products, and ultimately deliver more value.”

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Renesas’ integrated development environment with multi-device support enables software development at the ECU level, adding additional value to vehicles and contributing to the Software First approach. By providing a simulation environment from the earliest stages of product development, the platform enables application verification and development prior to the production of actual devices and ECUs, realizing the Shift Left concept.

By integrating and connecting simulators such as the R-Car virtual platform, which was previously provided for individual single-chip devices such as SoCs and microcontrollers, Renesas provides a new simulation environment for multi-device operation. . Designs can now be optimized by balancing different application functions and incorporating system-level software verification. A development tool that automatically generates software code for devices and a simulation environment for verification from MATLAB/Simulink models will also be available. These tools will allow engineers to evaluate performance and start application development before hardware and ECUs are in production.

Meanwhile, to make it easier to visualize the inner workings of the software, Renesas provides a debug and trace tool that allows concurrent and synchronized execution, execution control by breakpoints, and information tracing for ECUs. containing multiple devices. With this tool, users can visualize processing flows, assess performance profiles, and anticipate issues that may arise when using multiple closely-related devices within the same ECU. Renesas plans to implement the same functionality mentioned above (1) in the multi-device co-simulation environment so that debugging and tracing can be done on a computer without an ECU.

Generally, in ECU-level simulations, the target software tends to be large and it takes a long time to run the simulation. This new high-speed simulator is based on QEMU, an open-source virtual environment that models SoCs and microcontrollers at a high level of abstraction, enabling faster ECU-level simulation of complex software.

Finally, the development platform’s distributed processing software enables optimal distribution of application functions to CPUs and IPs inside different SoCs and microcontrollers in an ECU, maximizing hardware performance. With this software, engineers can develop applications quickly, without being limited by the hardware configuration of the ECU. For example, developers can add an AI Accelerator to an existing ECU to increase system performance, without having to redesign the application to accommodate the new device.

The new development platform is designed to reduce environmental impact by providing a turnkey solution that speeds time to market and saves energy.

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