AUTOPLUG: Remote Diagnostics Automotive Architecture for Control Software Safety

Source Organization:Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering
University:University of Pennsylvania
Principal Investigator:Rahul Mangharam, Yash V. Pant and Truong X. Nghiem
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Project Status:Complete
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Abstract:In 2010, over 20.3 million vehicles were recalled. Software issues related to automotive controls such as cruise control, anti-lock braking system, traction control and stability control, account for an increasingly large percentage of the overall vehicles recalled. There is a need for new and scalable methods to evaluate automotive controls in a realistic and open setting. We have developed AutoPlug, an automotive Electronic Controller Unit (ECU) test-bed to diagnose, test, update and verify controls software. AutoPlug consists of multiple ECUs interconnected by a CAN bus, a racecar driving simulator which behaves as the plant model and a vehicle controls monitor in Matlab. As the ECUs drive the simulated vehicle, the physics-based simulation provides feedback to the controllers in terms of acceleration, yaw, friction and vehicle stability. This closed-loop platform is then used to evaluate multiple vehicle control software modules such as traction, stability and cruise control. With this test-bed we are aim to develop ECU software diagnosis and testing to evaluate the effect on the stability and performance of the vehicle. Code updates can be executed via a smart phone so drivers may remotely “patch” their vehicle. This closed-loop automotive control test-bed allows the automotive research community to explore the capabilities and challenges of safe and secure remote code updates for vehicle recalls management.

We have demonstrated AutoPlug to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. We have also demonstrated this to the National Academy of Engineers (NAE), Intel Corporation, Toyota InfoTech Center, BOSCH Research and General Motors.
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