The future of validating and improving aerospace and autonomous vehicle design relies on hardware in the loop (HWIL or HIL) testing.
This approach involves connecting a control module—for example, a missile guidance, navigation, and control—to software that generates a simulated environment that “tricks” the control module into acting as though it’s engaging with a real environment. This allows R&D teams to run hundreds or thousands of varying test scenarios without the costs, time, or potential risks associated with field testing. HWIL testing as it is applied to hypersonics research applications requires bleeding edge technology, and Chip Design Systems is leading improvements in the area of infrared scene projectors for these tests.
Chip Design Systems (CDS for short) designs IR projectors that produce scenes made of IR light to run simulations for IR sensors—sort of like a VR headset for machines. CDS’s primary clients are government agencies; the projectors they create for these contracts must reach an astounding level of accuracy to meet their customers’ needs, often having to produce simulations for targets moving at supersonic speeds.
To give a comparison, the average consumer monitor projects an image around 60 to 120 hertz while CDS’s projectors can display scenes at a rate of 50,000 hertz. On top of the high framerate, CDS can simulate temperatures exceeding 1000 Kelvin and at a resolution up to 2000 × 2000.
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