04/12/2019 by Kvaser

Reducing Costs and Improving Efficiency for Pi Innovo with Kvaser’s Real-Time Interfaces

Pi Innovo specializes in the rapid development of custom electronic control units (ECUs), leveraging its off the shelf production-capable OpenECU® platform, that are deployed by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in agriculture, automotive, aviation/aerospace, construction equipment, military vehicles, railway and trucking

With the increased complexity of today’s embedded systems  it is not uncommon for vehicles to have as many as 70 ECUs today Pi Innovo required a robust controller area network bus (CAN) development platform for debugging subsystems and entire ECU networks. Pi Innovo also needed guidance on CAN bus implementation to communicate with other applications.

After evaluating other platforms, Pi Innovo selected Kvaser interfaces and data loggers to connect to the CAN bus during their custom development work.

Explains Adrian Carnie:

The M560 OpenECU, Pi Innovo’s most recent controller.

“We work with Kvaser as its products are the most robust and user-friendly for what we need to do. While there are lots of options for connecting development machines to CAN bus, the Kvaser products are essentially plug and play. In addition, the Kvaser support team guides our engineers to overcome new challenges. Kvaser is not just a supplier, they are part of our eco-system!”

Kvaser’s devices work seamlessly with Pi Innovo’s flagship product, OpenECU, a comprehensive family of off-the-shelf rapid control prototyping ECUs and software. In particular, Kvaser’s USB to CAN interfaces help provide real-time access to ECU variables.

Carnie notes:

“Calibration is a very powerful way to help debug what’s going on in real time, and, also to help tune the system in real time. We found that Kvaser CAN interface hardware increased our value to Pi Innovo customers by reducing time and therefore cost to develop their embedded system.”

What’s Next on the Horizon for Pi Innovo?

Pi Innovo is currently looking at the Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing market (eVTOL) … in other words, flying cars! Flying taxis in Dubai could conceivably happen by 2022. eVTOL is an answer to ever-increasing congestion.

Carnie suggests:

“A lot of the same principles apply to eVTOL as do to Electric Vehicles, and this is where Pi Innovo is looking to make traction. There are over 140 different companies working on these types of systems, world-wide. While it is still an emerging market and technology, there is a lot of activity around it. We have products that can and are being used today, and Kvaser will definitely add value to those eVTOL projects.”

Pi Innovo is particularly interested in further developing the Electric Vehicle supervisory control. Their controller would become the “coordinating brain” of the vehicle, which requires a great deal of data from the outside world. The issue is how to process that data at adequate speeds. Ethernet provides the necessary bandwidth and Pi Innovo is therefore researching the need for Automotive Ethernet and determining which tools will be needed. However, Carnie concludes:

“CAN bus will always have a role to play.”

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