As automotive embedded systems become more complex, they become more complicated to create. As we move towards autonomous transportation, there are growing requirements for ever more complex control software. Consequently, control development projects need to evolve to allow prototyping across multiple hardware targets to cope with increased demand.
If this isn’t addressed, evolving development requirements cannot be sufficiently met by existing target hardware, potentially to the point of obsolescence. This can lead to a lengthy delay to the development process while existing plant models are re-configured for more appropriate platforms. Similarly, if you’re a producer of microcontrollers, it’s important to ensure the widest possible user base and adoption rate of your microcontroller technology.
As a solution, we’ve developed a new Simulink® Target Support Package (TSP) – flexiTARGET – that allows you to target your models for a theoretically limitless selection of real-time hardware. It can adapt to different microcontrollers and target hardware as the complexity of the model increases, which facilitates the running of models on more capable hardware variants, without the need for significant further development. You also don’t have to worry about low-level drivers, as flexiTARGET deals with that for you.
flexiTARGET is written from the ground up to support open source compilers such as GCC and Diab. add2 provides a pre-built GNU toolchain for Embedded PowerPC which is available on disc or can be downloaded. Having a pre-built GNU toolchain enables you to have your systems up and running quickly and easily, as well as reducing the overall cost of the compiler. Support for the toolchain can be provided by us.
Key benefits of flexiTARGET include support for GCC and other compilers, support of the latest versions of MATLAB, support of our latest MG565 MICROGen hardware, and providing a roadmap between processors.
Ultimately, flexiTARGET allows control model development to continue regardless of any hardware limitations, allowing you to no longer worry about hardware becoming obsolete. All of this results in a smoother development cycle, and easier support for custom hardware.
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How it works
flexiTARGET is a generic Simulink® target support package that can be used to provide compatibility of Simulink® models across multiple hardware targets. Model development takes place in Simulink®, with interfacing to the target hardware provided by the flexiTARGET blockset. Models are transferred to the target hardware using VISUALCONNX via USB connection. An example of target hardware that can be used with flexiTARGET is the MICROGen, our Simulink® re-programmable electronic control module system.
flexiTARGET is adaptable and can support multiple hardware targets, supporting the facility to run the same model on different systems as multiple target configurations. Control models can be easily moved and adapted for more capable systems in line with the developing complexity of the model itself. This can occur if the user requires more capable I/O, or enhanced processing capability to improve the tick rate of the model.
Currently, microcontrollers supported include:
flexiTARGET allows support for a range of microcontrollers, and can be adapted to support any microcontroller family, meaning there’s no need to purchase specific targets, as requirements develop. Instead, engineers are able to use the same TSP and Simulink® I/O libraries and quickly use them with different targets. We can work alongside your team to provide a blockset providing compatibility with the target you’re working with.
Costly compilers are not necessary due to full support for the GNU toolchain, which includes the GCC compiler. Any version of MATLAB is supported, as well as our real-time systems interface creation software, VISUALCONNX, for downloading models and creating GUIs. VISUALCONNX allows engineers to build control GUIs without the need for programming.
For developers of control software
Compatibility can be achieved for a theoretically limitless selection of targets, allowing for more future-proof developments. If you need model development services, we can provide this to organisations for their RCP or HIL requirements.
For microcontroller manufacturers
We produce customised targets for specific microcontroller families. We can target theoretically any microcontroller. We can increase your customer base by targeting your model of microcontroller, for a range of control development applications.
VISUALCONNX is a software package that allows engineers to create interfaces for HIL and RCP systems, often without programming. It can be used for control and diagnostic purposes and analysis with any real-time system. You can feed parameter blocks in Simulink® and receive signals from models with VISUALCONNX. It can be used to create powerful interfaces for models created using flexiTARGET.
Simulink® models can be developed in MICROGen as a starting point, and then migrated to whichever processor you choose. If a processor is no longer supported, we can build a blockset to target your models to it, for that processor alone allowing you to move to a different processor at a later stage.
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