Model-based design moves forward with The MathWorks

  • 15-May-2008 05:36 EDT
The MathWorks announced at the SAE World Congress that modeling-standards checks for DO-178B, IEC-61508, and MathWorks Automotive Advisory Board guidelines are applied automatically by the Model Advisor feature within Simulink Verification and Validation.
With model-based design continually taking on greater importance in the automotive-engineering community as a way to improve time to market, communication, and cost-efficiency, The MathWorks came to the world’s largest annual gathering of automotive engineers to make a couple of key announcements.

At April’s SAE 2008 World Congress, The MathWorks released the first update to the MathWorks Automotive Advisory Board (MAAB) style guide, originally released in 2000.

MAAB first met in July 1998 and involved Ford, Daimler Benz, and Toyota, who originally approached The MathWorks with feedback on how the tools could be enhanced to support model-based design for automotive design and production. The board has since grown to include more than 45 major OEMs and suppliers.

“Out of this advisory board, working groups were created to tackle specific areas that customers felt they wanted to meet more regularly on,” said Jon Friedman, The MathWorks’ Automotive Industry Marketing Manager. “One of the areas that quickly was identified was when modeling is adopted as the primary development tool, modeling standards become as important as coding standards, both for readability, simulation speed, code generation, and for verification validation.”

The group then collected a set of standards it felt applied consistently throughout the industry to provide a foundation from which companies could build customized standards.

For this latest release, Japanese, European, and North American MAAB members collaborated to develop nearly 30 new guidelines for design with MATLAB, Simulink, and Stateflow.

“There are additional guidelines, and the other thing is they looked at it a little bit more structured,” Friedman said. “They started thinking about what are the reasons you have guidelines. Originally, when the working group sat down to talk about guidelines, the thought was, ‘Well, we have guidelines for coding, we should probably have guidelines for modeling.’”

By using these guidelines, engineering teams can better build and manage models for specification exchange, simulation, automatic code generation, documentation, and test definition. They can also generate designs that are reusable, easy to integrate, and consistent with standard guidelines.

The MathWorks also announced at the show that its Verification and Validation software now automatically evaluates and verifies system models for compliance with MAAB modeling guidelines, as well as DO-178B and IEC-61508 standards. DO-178B is the standard for software used in safety-critical flight control. IEC-61508 is used in the industrial and automated machine industry; however, it is also beginning to see use in the automotive industry for safety-critical embedded systems applications.

These modeling-standards checks are applied by the Model Advisor feature in Simulink. The Model Advisor also checks for other attributes, such as model consistency and code-generation compatibility. Engineers can also use the customization application programming interface (API) in Simulink Verification and Validation to develop their own modeling checks and register them with Model Advisor for automatic execution.

“There’s a basic philosophy to try to have the tool do as much of the heavy lifting or the repeatable activities as possible,” Friedman said. “You want the engineers to do the creative design and problem solving. In the review process, you want to automate as much as possible to flag the issues.”

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