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The PXI platform offers great adaptability to different types of ECUs and the end-user is not bound to change the entire system while switching from testing one component to another. National Instruments — the US-based testing and validation platform supplier is driving convenience and speedier progress for its customers with its customisable user-defined testing systems. Hyundai Kefico is a vendor of powertrain management components including electronic control units ECUs , sensors, actuators and modules.
It supplies to parent Hyundai and Kia Motors, and also to Mahindra-owned Ssangyong Motor, with the parts also being used as spare parts sold by Hyundai Mobis. The company has registered achieving faster test speeds required for functional tests of powertrain ECUs in manufacturing, and thus, shorter development times by adopting a customisable user-defined test system using the NI automated test platform.
NI claims that the ECU vendor recorded a reduction in development time to one-sixth of the previous system and lowered the system cost to 70 percent with a 15 percent faster test time. The requirements of the test engineers at Hyundai Kefico were critical wherein they needed to sustainably meet manufacturing test deadlines for increasingly complex powertrain electronic control units ECU with over pins and 20, test steps — all of this while ensuring test times comply with throughput needs and also the cost of testing is reduced to remain competitive in the market.
In other words, a new tester for every new ECU needed to be built, with minimum reuse of test engineering assets, thus bearing a negative impact to the cost of test. This resulted in the company achieving an 80 percent reduction in development time, while also gaining the ability to add functionality like CAN with flexible data-rate in the future, as product requirements evolve. The speed of ECU design is changing and this critical field is also coming up to the task of meeting very stringent norms in every country, which kind of puts a lot of pressure on the designers.
Hence, we have to look at offering value for our customers. Moreover, it also aids to increase the speed of testing through parallel test capabilities, wherein not only testing multiple ECUs on one instrument, the platform has the capability to deliver across geographies in a cost effective manner.
It gives customers a base to build on top of rather than give them a fully-built system, thus helping in collaborative innovation. For instance, just changing a single CAM communication panel will lead to running a second evaluation on the automated test platform. So, essentially, PXI has huge adaptability to customers and their demands. It also allows pre-empting problems before the production process by utilising test validation data during the testing process, which helps in optimising the operational efficiency.
In what sense would you justify the extra investment into the NI platform? Hyundai Kefico is using not just our PXI platform, but also the related software and test systems such as load management systems for testing of their ECUs. Even though the upfront cost is most certainly higher than what they were used to investing earlier, however, we are looking at a 45 percent RoI and over 80 percent reduction in the development time, which would then allow for the human resources to be allocated to other critical projects.
So, more than cost, it is time that is going to see the intellect being utilised towards achieving growth. What are some of the benefits switching over to the new platform? The CP-Tester Common Platform sees a full electronic architecture including sensors, and harnesses being interconnected and shared. As a result, this allows for sharing of data, which can be further used to monitor performance and trends at the production level, and thus, build better traceability for any unforeseen future requirement, maybe in the case of a recall.
What is your view on the horizontal deployment of such systems in other arenas of automotive development? It is very positive and we are currently in the process of deploying highly integrated test systems in the powertrain and body-chassis domains as well.
This is because they function very similar to ECU testing. Having said that, these solutions, however, do not apply to ADAS and V2X for which we have other instrumentation and equipment in place. We aim to leverage these integrated solutions in these two critical automotive arenas and essentially optimise costs. Even though the conventional powertrains are declining and might diminish slowly, hybrids are going to keep the demand alive for the deployment of these systems at the powertrain front.
At NI, we are not just a solutions provider to the transportation or the semiconductor industry, in fact, we learn from each of the areas we operate in and believe that industry convergence are going to drive disruption in the market.
Is the industry open in adopting such systems? Are they held back by large capex? In any case, cost has to match value, and our job is to provide that to our customers.
Do you think there would be synergy on the validation front as well, given OEMs need to bring new technologies while minimising costs? Absolutely yes, we can do validation in production and integrate it with full vehicle validation and component level validation as well. So, synergies are possible both at the OE-level as well as the technology creator-level as well.
What is the current status on Autonomous driving technology? Various technology companies are in the race to come to market as soon as possible, but how far are we from seeing a completely fool-proof and safe system to be coming on the roads without compromising on proper testing and validation? Currently while the technology is being developed there are some critical questions to be asked, for instance LIDAR or not?
So, in the next two years, we are going to see topology being defined wherein these questions are going to be answered. Smaller companies today are the ones doing the best research.
After this, the next thing that is going to happen is that people are going to get used to the technology and as we get used to it, we will start getting more and more open towards it. Also, the technology if brought in now, is going to be hugely expensive. The tech is already here, we are just waiting for the ecosystem to be created.
Plug & Play Kefico Engine ECU, 9003050215KB, 39125-2B172, MG7.9.8
Plug & Play Kefico Engine ECU, Kia, 9001040257KB, 39130-26BC0, GJB-AG4DES0-5000
The first ECU tuning software utility for remapping professionals