Model-Based Design for Embedded Software

Executive Summary

Model-based design (MBD) is a framework used in virtual prototyping of embedded software. MBD has evolved to overcome various difficulties and complexities that typically arise during the design lifecycle of embedded software for closed-loop control systems. Such software needs to be designed in an iterative manner with extensive involvement of multi-disciplinary teams. In most practical scenarios, the need for embedded software design has to start early (as well as tested) before physical prototypes and systems are made available. Using traditional design processes, the discovery of design and requirements errors found late in the design cycle can lead to expensive delays. The MBD framework aims to address these issues early on in the design phase while significantly minimizing the rework involved in later phases of lifecycle.

In traditional design processes, the design information is usually communicated and managed in the form of text-based documentation. Frequently, such documentation is difficult to understand and subject to interpretation bias. The embedded code is created manually from specifications and requirements documents, hence, leading to a time consuming and error-prone process. There is also little tracking to ensure that changes are implemented correctly.

Embedded software designs, such as those used in avionics and automotive systems, have become so complex to develop and create that a design environment without coordination is becoming common for all developers involved. In this context, MBD, when used effectively, is able to provide a single design environment so that developers can use a single model of their entire lifecycle for data analysis, model visualization, testing and validation, and ltimately product deployment, with or without automatic code generation.

Project Highlights

  • Minimizing the rework involved in later phases of design lifecycle
  • Techniques like simulations and small scale models that can greatly reduce the costs and risks of production
  • Versatile applications including guidance systems, engine controls, autopilots, anti-lock braking systems
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