Safety-critical functions have to be reliable, and so do the test methods used to verify them. The functional safety standard for E/E systems in road vehicles, ISO 26262, highly recommends using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) tests for testing safety-related functions, components, single ECUs, and ECU networks. This is because HIL tests have been state-of-the-art for years and have been used for testing safety-critical functions nearly as long.
Aspects of ISO 26262-compliant Testing
- Defining test strategies: An appropriate test strategy has to be defined. This includes decisions about the test focus, test object, and test level, such as software unit testing, software integration and testing, verification of software safety requirements, item integration and testing. To implement this test strategy, you have to select suitable test environments, such as hardware-in-the-loop simulators.
- Verifying the suitability of the test environment: After the test strategy has been defined, you have to verify the suitability of the HIL system for use in the specific safety-related project by testing the entire system. This must be done after system assembly and then performed repeatedly for a system in use. If the HIL system consists of hardware and software, both have to be verified together.
- Ensuring the suitability of the complete tool chain: In addition to verifying the HIL test system, you have to ensure that the complete tool chain is suitable for implementing the defined test strategy and executing the intended tests. To comply with ISO 26262, you have to ensure that the software tool used provides the required level of confidence according to the Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) of the project. dSPACE can support your classification and qualification procedures for proving the suitability of your tool chain for use in safety-related applications from ASIL A up to ASIL D. For HIL test automation, dSPACE offers AutomationDesk. This software has been certified by TÜV SÜD for testing safety-related systems according to ISO 26262 and IEC 61508.