Virtual prototyping of distributed embedded systems with FERAL
Distributed embedded systems are found in time- and safety-critical domains, such as avionics and automotive. Virtual prototyping is a suitable approach for the development of such systems, since it enables early testing and early evaluation of design decisions in realistic simulated environments. Existing simulators only focus on specific aspects and application domains. However, an accurate prediction of the overall system behaviour of complex distributed embedded systems requires the consideration of multiple aspects together, e.g., communication and functional behaviour. Therefore, a mechanism for the rapid coupling of simulators is required to create holistic simulation environments. In this paper, we survey our modular simulator framework FERAL, which provides a generic solution to virtual prototyping by enabling the rapid coupling and exchange of diverse simulators, even with heterogeneous simulation models. Thus, simulators operating on different abstraction levels can be applied together. We demonstrate the adaptation of FERAL by incorporating several simulators, in particular, existing simulators (Simulink, ns-3), and our newly developed simulators for the automotive communication technologies CAN and FlexRay. We then demonstrate FERAL's capabilities by evaluating different design alternatives for an adaptive cruise control system in a real world scenario.