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Zooming in on model-based design

Posted: 02 Jun 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:reducing development time? model-based design? algorithm debugging?

Today's automotive companies and suppliers face conflicting goals of reducing development time and improving quality in the face of increasing demands of greater system complexity from both customers and the government. To meet these challenges industry leading companies have adopted model-based design.

Model-based design begins with the creation of an executable specification from the requirements. At the heart of the executable specification is an executable model, which can be used, and elaborated throughout the process. The executable specification can also include inputs and expected outputs, the application environment, and links to requirements. Executable specifications unambiguously communicate the design goals and allow feasibility analysis of the requirements.

The models from the executable specification can be used as the starting point for the design. Unlike the traditional process, engineers can perform design iterations on a model of the system rather than relying on physical prototypes. Moreover, design teams can systematically explore and optimize the design using model-based design tools. For example, with bit-accurate simulations of components, design and requirement flaws can be identified and corrected before implementation. The inputs and acceptance criteria created as part of the executable specification can be reused at this stage to ensure that the design meets the requirements. Using these tests and the design model, engineers can also analyze how thoroughly they have exercised the design via model coverage analysis using criteria such as MC/DC analysis. If the tests do not exercise the design completely, the design team can determine if additional tests are needed or if parts of the design are not necessary to satisfy the requirements.

Creating implementation
After the model has been elaborated during the design stage, it can be used to create the implementation automatically. Generating the implementation automatically from the model removes manual errors from the process.

Finally, the implementation is tested using the tests developed in the prior stages. Thus, errors are detected when they are introduced; saving both the time and money spent fixing late errors in a traditional design process. Model-based design reduces the traditional dependency on physical prototypes and moves much of the testing further upstream in the process so that test to verify hardware or integration requirements are performed on hardware, while algorithm debugging and requirements analysis are done upfront on the model.

The AADL system communicates with the cameras over the wireless network, through the radio device.

As a result, the late changes that plague many projects are moved to earlier stages in the design process where they are less expensive to make and have minimal impact on the time to market. In the end, the production implementations work the first time, development time is shortened, and quality is improved.

Model-based design reduces the traditional dependency on physical prototypes and moves much of the testing further upstream in the process.

- Jon Friedman
Automotive Industry Marketing Manager
The Mathworks Inc.

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