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Software eases prototyping of automotive apps

Posted: 20 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Freescale? RAppID ToolBox? MPC5500? prototyping software? automotive?

Freescale's 32bit MPC5500 automotive <a href=MCU" ALIGN="RIGHT">

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. has introduced RAppID ToolBox, a software solution that supports on-target, rapid prototyping of the company's 32bit MPC5500 automotive MCU family. The solution is designed to help automotive customers streamline model-based software development, the company said.

According to Freescale, RAppID ToolBox enables control engineers to reduce development time and cost when migrating from their application modeling environment to real-world implementations on automotive MCU platforms intended for production. The solution provides prototyping solutions for a variety of automotive applications, such as engine and transmission control, anti-lock braking systems and chassis/suspension systems. Developers also can use it for non-automotive applications ranging from avionic systems to industrial printers to power generators.

Easy-to-use prototyping solution
"As microcontrollers become more powerful and feature-rich to address more complex applications, developers need access to more sophisticated yet easy to use prototyping solutions like the RAppID ToolBox," said Salim Momin, director of Freescale's Virtual Garage software and services business unit. "Control engineers can use the RAppID ToolBox to determine how their applications will perform on target MCUs early in the development cycle and then work on optimization at the model level rather than at the code level."

Control engineers often validate their control models functionally by running auto-generated C code on commercially available rapid prototyping hardware. However, the prototyping hardware usually does not represent the MCU targeted for production. As a result, the engineers may not know the control algorithm's actual performance on the production MCU. In addition, engineers prefer to run their control algorithms on target MCUs early in the development cycle to validate their device selection. However, this can be a difficult, time-consuming task if they have to write the initialization, device drivers and scheduler code by hand, which adds to the development cycle time.

Freescale said its RAppID ToolBox addresses these challenges by enabling engineers to execute their control models on MPC5500 MCU family hardware without writing code and to profile the execution of the code on their target MCU. The solution thus helps reduce development time by allowing engineers to work in their actual, real-world control environment.

Eliminates costly investment
Using the profiling feature of the RAppID ToolBox, application developers can study the performance of their control strategy on the target MCU early in the design cycle. The solution eliminates the need to invest in expensive prototyping hardware by supporting rapid prototyping on cost-effective evaluation boards for MPC5500 family devices, Freescale explained, such as the MPC5554 MCU. Optimized DSP blocks enable developers to take advantage of the single-instruction/multiple-data (SIMD) capabilities of the MPC5554.

Using the RAppID ToolBox, developers can quickly execute and evaluate their complex control algorithms on MPC5500 family platforms. The tool automatically generates the necessary software, from initialization to device drivers to schedulers, including support for Freescale's OSEKturbo RTOS. The tool-box-generated code integrates seamlessly with commercial automatic code generation tools, such as TargetLink from dSPACE and Real-Time Workshop and Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder.

The first RAppID ToolBox offering for the MPC5554 MCU is available from Freescale's Virtual Garage.

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