Rapid Control Prototyping

Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP) is a method for validating control algorithms by using software models to control prototypes. Most control algorithms are initally developed in a modeling environment such as Simulink.  The control system of the end product will eventually be implemented in a programming language optimized for embedded programming. The transition from a pure model to actual embedded software on a full product is never seamless, but it will be even harder in case the control algorithms are not throughly validated. RCP means that a measurement and control system capable of both executing a mathematical model, as well as sending and recieving all physical signals that the control unit will later do, is used during the initial protyping, until it is validated that the models actually correspond to a desirable end product. This enables fast iteration and validation on the control algorithms, which increases product quality and shortens development time.

Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP): Method for validating control algorithms.

Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP) means that a measurement and control system – often executing a mathematical model – replaces the control unit during the initial protyping.

RCP: A virtual control system

RCP means that a virtual control system is used to control the physical product in its real environment, or at least in a lab. Once the control algorithms are throughly validated, the implementation of the algorithm to embedded software starts. To verify the functionality of the embedded software on the embedded controller, a Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) system can be used. HIL is the inverse of RCP: The actual control system is applied on a virtual environment. Read more about HIL-testing here.

LabVIEW and National Instruments hardware platforms

LabVIEW and NI’s hardware platforms are excellent tools for implementing both RCP and HIL. The modular CompactRIO platform can read and write almost all physical signals and protocols in a small form factor (in a prototpying context). The LabVIEW Module Interface Toolkit can in turn execute models from the following modelling languages:

Contact us

Contact us at Novator Solutions through +46-702-148-203, or our contact form, to learn how you can leverage LabVIEW and CompactRIO for more efficient prototyping.