The MathWorks Solves Customers’ Major Design Challenges with Automatic Production Code Generation for Fixed-Point Embedded Controllers

11/20/2002 - Further demonstrating its leadership position in the embedded systems market, The MathWorks has enabled customers such as Motorola, Jaguar, BAE Systems, and Honeywell to solve major design challenges by using the company's model-based design tools Simulink®, Stateflow®, and Real-Time Workshop® Embedded Coder to design and generate optimized code for fixed-point controllers. Automatic production code generation enabled these companies to accurately and efficiently create embedded software for these controllers, resulting in significant reductions in both development time and costs.

Motorola's Automotive Group recently used MathWorks software to develop an electronic control unit that manages the battery, which is considered the heart of an electric vehicle. Salam Zeiden of Motorola said, "The MathWorks model-based design and production code generation software were heavily used to develop and optimize the battery management controller software. We most likely would not have been able to meet our project's delivery dates if we had used traditional methods of paper designs and hand coding instead of using Simulink, Stateflow, and Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder." Motorola's automatically generated software runs on the 16-bit, fixed-point Motorola M68HC12 at 16 MHz, with 128Kb of Flash and 8Kb of RAM memory.

Simulink, Stateflow, and Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder include fully integrated support for both fixed-point and floating-point data types. This enables engineers to design algorithms, simulate their behavior, assess trade-offs between floating-point and fixed-point designs, and automatically generate extremely efficient implementations for either floating-point or fixed-point controllers. The design tools provide many new efficiency optimizations that reduce RAM, ROM, and execution time in the generated code. They also support various design steps required for embedded control development, such as rapid prototyping and processor-in-the-loop testing.

"Automatic generation of embedded software is a reality, with engineering teams reporting 50% or more time savings with model-based design and MathWorks tools," said Paul Barnard, Control Systems Marketing Director at The MathWorks. "Project teams all over the world are using Simulink, Stateflow, and Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder to generate production code in automotive powertrains, flight control, and communications systems. Now with fully integrated support for fixed-point processors, engineers can achieve the same efficiency on cost-sensitive, higher volume projects."

The MathWorks model-based design software enables embedded systems developers to design software by creating and refining a model of the system. They can simulate, test, and analyze the model and automatically generate target-ready floating-point or fixed-point C code for the system at any point in the development process. The process is faster and less error prone than hand coding the embedded control software.

Embedded Target products from The MathWorks make it easy to compile and execute code on the embedded processors by directly supporting specific microcontroller units and DSP chips for rapid prototyping, production deployment of embedded applications, and validation and performance analysis. The MathWorks currently offers embedded target products for the Motorola MPC555 and Texas Instruments C6000. Later this year, The MathWorks will introduce the Embedded Target for Infineon C166® Microcontrollers, which provides tailored support for the Infineon C166® and the STMicroelectronics ST10® families of microcontrollers.

"The MathWorks has realized its goal of generating production C code optimized for speed, memory usage, and simplicity," said Paul Zorfass, Senior Analyst with IDC/FTI. "Their customers are using this code to develop complex embedded systems in demanding areas, such as automobile powertrains, chip production, and aircraft avionics. Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder moves The MathWorks from a modeling tool provider to a broader, production implementation tool provider that extends additional benefits for current and new customers."

Additional production code generation capabilities, including code reuse, customizable data types, and legacy software integration, make it easier to develop software for large systems. New, easy-to-use autoscale simulation and data type propagation capabilities can quickly optimize fixed-point scaling values based on numerical stress tests. As a result, tremendous time and effort savings are achieved by enabling users to systematically define the data types and binary points of signals throughout the fixed-point model.

About The MathWorks
The MathWorks is the world's leading developer of technical computing software for engineers and scientists in industry, government, and education. With an extensive product set based on MATLAB and Simulink®, The MathWorks provides software and services to solve challenging problems and accelerate innovation in automotive, aerospace, communications, financial services, biotechnology, electronics, instrumentation, process, and other industries. The MathWorks was founded in 1984 and employs more than 1000 people worldwide, with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts.

MATLAB, Simulink, Stateflow, Handle Graphics, and Real-Time Workshop are registered trademarks, and TargetBox is a trademark of The MathWorks, Inc.

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