Jonathan Newell finds out from NI how FlexLogger data logging software pulls it all together for test engineers validating the latest generation of connected and autonomous vehicles.
In automotive engineering, the rapid pace of innovation is stretching the capabilities or the standard test systems that the industry has become accustomed to. The highly connected and partially autonomous vehicles that are in development today are making use of rapidly evolving technologies relating to active safety, electrification and vehicle-to-vehicle/infrastructure (V2X) communication.
These technologies are having a profound effect on how the industry designs, tests and produces new vehicles. Rapidly evolving components and systems including sensor fusion and high-capacity batteries demand a higher volume of testing with accurate, traceable results to exceed safety-critical expectations for quality and reliability. These trends are pulling automotive test departments in different directions, intensifying challenges to build increasingly complex, mixed-measurement test systems under compressed timelines, while managing the explosive growth of collected data.
Data acquisition platform
To meet the emerging challenges of automotive developers, National Instruments (NI) has developed its FlexLogger configuration-based data-logging software for validation test. With intuitive workflows and integrated data management, FlexLogger helps automotive test departments quickly capture accurate, well-documented data to verify system functions in real-world conditions and comply with strict government regulations.
Engineers can use FlexLogger to help simplify test configurations and extract key insights with sensor-specific workflows to acquire and log synchronised, mixed measurements without the need for any programming knowledge. They can quickly integrate analogue sensors, digital pulse frequencies, CAN signals and calculated channels that are all logged to the universal Technical Data Management Streaming (TDMS) file format, so data can be correlated and analysed to accurately characterise an entire system.
Configuration-based workflows are the cornerstone that now empowers technicians to streamline test development, integrate new measurements and manage data using NI’s flexible software platform and modular hardware. For example, using NI’s data management expertise, FlexLogger automatically logs descriptive metadata about the test configuration including sensor and hardware acquisition settings for easier traceability. Test departments can improve access to data and effectively communicate results to the organisation using DIAdem data management software to find, analyse and report on FlexLogger data.
FlexLogger is the latest addition to NI’s software-centric platform that features products tailored to needs within distinct stages of their workflow. With LabVIEW engineering system design software at its core, DIAdem data management software handling overall data analytics and reporting and SystemLink managing assets and data, this workflow improves the productivity of test and validation labs across many industries.
FlexLogger is now available as one of the components of LabVIEW NXG.
FlexLogger is capable of being used throughout the industry from EV passenger car producers to heavy agricultural equipment manufacturers. CNH Industrial designs and produces variations of powertrain systems for different vehicles like agricultural machines, construction equipment, trucks and buses. Each system has unique function and performance specifications, which means every test has different requirements to integrate new sensors and industrial protocols.
“Characterising a combine harvester drivetrain requires a mix of different measurements including pressure, temperature, current, CAN and shaft speed,” said Andy Tarman, lab test engineer at CNH Industrial. “FlexLogger makes it easier to troubleshoot and verify that the raw data from different sensors are correct before starting a test. This helps shorten test development by saving time typically wasted on redoing configurations.”