ECU Design

Pathway Technologies Provides Solutions

An ECU or Electronic Control Unit comprises a microcontroller and some signal conditioning and power driver circuitry. The microcontroller typically has algorithms/software embedded into it for driving the output (actuators). The microcontroller takes its input is from sensors attached to the ECU. Some of the signal information may be available on the CAN bus, while the rest of it is available through a direct connection of the sensor to the ECU. The explosion of electronics content in the modern automobile has made it necessary for embedded system developers to move the ECU design and code development process from the traditional approach to a model based deisgn one using a modeling/simulation/rapid prototyping environment such as MATLAB/Simulink. In this approach the control algorithm is developed using a control model and autocode generation techniques are used to go from the control model to production code development to deployment in the ECU, testing, and iterative fine tuning of the algorithm until the goals have been achieved. Some common problems to be solved in the procedure are listed below:

  1. Scaling floating point numbers and operations to fixed point operations (for the migration to the final ECU) if the microcontroller does not support floating point operations
  2. Writing hardware drivers
  3. Writing communication drivers - CAN is just the basic protocol; other related protocols such as CanOpen, J1939, J1850, TTCAN must be supported depending on the vehicle class
  4. Satisfying environment conditions, where ECUs might need to perform in severe temperature conditions like that in the engine compartment: under-the-hood environment
  5. Developing new sensors
  6. Code generation for different ready made or custom tailored ECUs
  7. Customization at various layers / levels
Pathway Technologies Provides Solutions
Custom designed Infineon C167 based ECU.

While some of the challenges listed are mostly hardware related and can be mitigated by an appropriate choice of hardware and packaging, the other challenges remain uniquely software related.

Pathway Technologies Inc. provides ECU Prototyping, ECU Hardware Design, Custom Target Code Generation solutions, apart from the Control System Design and Implementation for their clients in the automotive, commercial vehicle, medical electronics and industrial automation sectors. We offer products and services for ECU design, ECU hardware fabrication, production code implementation and in-vehicle testing and software validation. Our expertise in using industry standard embedded software tools and our adherence to software development best practices ensures that the quality of our work meets the highest standards of our clients.

Experience and Capabilities

  • Automatic code generation (Simulink® Coder and TargetLink®)
  • Coding for Embedded targets using CodeWarrior, other cross-compiling and supporting tools
  • Communication protocols like CAN, and industry standard variations such as CanOpen, J1939, J1850 and other proprietary protocols
  • Custom changes to base CAN protocol
  • ECU hardware interface development
  • Control algorithm development
  • Embedded Software development
  • Hardware-in-the-loop simulation for ECUs
  • Testing and Verification