ASAP Group test systems for integration tests
Apr 18, 2023
The ASAP Group designs and manufactures turnkey impact-chain and composite test benches for its customers to use in integration testing. All systems are based on a fundamental modular concept. This not only makes it possible to configure the testing systems to suit individual customer requirements, it also provides the flexibility needed to integrate new components at a later date and switch between different types of control unit. However, the ASAP Smart Test Execution Platform (STEP) – a middleware for test automation – is always integrated. STEP unites hardware and software to create a complete system and allows for straightforward commissioning up to 50% faster than conventional systems.
For many years, the ASAP Group has been developing impact-chain and composite test benches for OEMs and systems suppliers, with either partial or full integration of control units and original components, for validation purposes. Customers not only benefit from the expertise of the specialists working in the corporate group’s Test Systems department but also from the test system concepts that have already been trialled internally. The systems’ modular structure offers numerous advantages. For one, they can be configured individually and further modules for additional functions can be added at any time without significant expense or effort. As a result, the test system’s structure remains flexible and can be adapted to specific customer requirements even after completion. In the planning phase, ASAP coordinates closely with each customer to develop concepts for impact-chain and composite test benches and, if desired, to integrate the system in existing testing infrastructure, including risk assessment. In the subsequent design phase, experts from ASAP Test Systems define all other details before manufacturing the systems in accordance with all applicable standards. The ASAP Group’s development specialists also oversee commissioning of the testing systems. They start by checking that the electrical systems are functioning correctly. After that, they activate all the control units, monitor their communication with other control units, ensure they can be contacted for diagnostic purposes, and finally analyse the diagnostic values to examine the system as a whole.
Impact-chain test benches for manual operation of original components
The impact-chain test benches produced by ASAP are partially automated, openly accessible systems for examining impact chains. These systems are used in system testing, diagnostic testing and flash testing, and allow manual operation and manipulation by users. Original components are integrated into the test bench and then either manually operated or, in some cases, controlled by the system in order to examine their mode of operation. In addition to the ASAP middleware STEP, vehicle bus systems, monitors and computers, a specialist workstation can integrate a steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal. This means that the user can steer, accelerate and brake from the workstation and thereby examine the effects of these actions on the networked control units. ASAP can also install control units in all available variants in the testing system if requested by the customer. The STEP middleware includes a switching function that enables the user to swiftly change between control units.
Fully automated composite test benches
Composite test benches from ASAP make it possible to examine combined functions – and, unlike impact-chain test benches, are self-contained systems featuring up to 100% automation. These testing systems are closed-loop test benches. This means that a real integrated control device network and the simulated environment interact with each other, with their behaviour influencing each other. If, for example, the control units accelerate virtually to a certain speed, the simulated environment changes accordingly and provides the corresponding control units and sensors with feedback on factors such as the gradient angle of the road, the speed of the wheels and so on. The developers disconnect the real sensors from the control unit and connect the simulation to the control units directly in order feed these environmental responses into the control units without the need for feedback to pass through the sensors. In addition, the testing systems provide all information time-synchronously (deterministically) so that all sensor technology can be fused simultaneously. These characteristics make ASAP composite test benches suitable for the automated validation of driver assistance systems up to SAE Level 5 and offer a range of advantages in this regard. The ability to use test benches for validation reduces the need for real-world driving experiments using expensive prototypes to a minimum, cutting both the time required and costs involved in validation.
Communication between test automation and test bench
The use of the Smart Test Execution Platform (STEP) in all ASAP impact-chain and composite test benches makes it easy to scale up test systems. This means that any form of sensor technology can be integrated in the system at any time and commissioned quickly and easily with ASAP’s STEP software. STEP serves as middleware between test automation and measurement technology and was specifically devel-oped by ASAP for testing systems with different measurement and control hardware. The software allows test automation and the testing system to communicate and serves to relay sensor and actuator systems as an abstracted channel to a single control system. The experts at ASAP Test Systems can support customers by developing the necessary test automation or adjusting existing test processes if required.