The development of reliable X-by-wire systems : assessing the effectiveness of a 'simulation first' approach
Networks of embedded processors play an increasingly important role in the control of automotive, aerospace, industrial, defence and medical systems. The requirements for such X-by-Wire applications are highly demanding and complex in nature, and there are numerous possible design and technology options available. As a consequence, in all but the most trivial systems, engineering teams who wish to identify the best solution can only hope to prototype a small percentage of the possible designs. Several researchers have argued that an effective solution to these problems is to use computer simulations in the early stages of the design process. The aim of this thesis is to explore the effectiveness of such a simulation first approach when developing X-by-Wire systems. The main focus is on the automotive sector, but it is suggested that the techniques developed during the course of this project can be more widely applied. This document makes three main contributions, as follows. First, it provides clear empirical evidence of the extent to which a simulation first approach can be used to support the development of non-trivial X-by-Wire systems. Second, it introduces a novel, cost-effective empirical small group methodology (SGM) to compare between different development techniques for embedded systems. The SGM is described, and its effectiveness demonstrated in four non-trivial case studies; and Third, evidence is presented which suggests that the SGM may be more widely applicable.