Basic understanding of a HIL TEST Engineering

In our upcoming blog post, Damas Engineering will provide an overview of Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) testing.
We’ll explain:

  • What is HIL testing
  • How it’s used in the engineering design process
  • Entry-level requirements for becoming a HIL test engineer.

Additionally, we’ll dive into the critical processes involved in HIL testing and the essential tools and technologies used by HIL test engineers. Stay tuned for our upcoming post for a detailed exploration of this important testing methodology!


What is HIL Testing?

HIL testing, or Hardware-in-the-Loop testing, is a type of testing methodology used to evaluate the performance of complex engineering systems, such as aircraft, automotive, or industrial control systems. HIL testing involves the use of a real-time simulation platform that mimics the behaviour of the actual system being tested, allowing engineers to assess the performance of the system’s control software and hardware in a controlled environment.

HIL testing is a critical component of the engineering design process, allowing engineers to identify and resolve issues early in the development cycle, reducing the risk of costly errors and delays later on.
Entry-level requirements for HIL testing engineers typically include a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant engineering field, such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or computer engineering. In addition, candidates should have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, familiarity with engineering software and programming languages, and a willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies and tools.

“Trust, but verify.” – This quote, famously attributed to Ronald Reagan, is particularly relevant to HIL testing. While engineers may trust the performance of a complex system’s control software and hardware, it’s essential to verify that the system performs as intended in a controlled testing environment. HIL testing allows engineers to do just that, ensuring that systems function as expected before they are deployed in real-world settings.

Roles of a HIL Test Engineer

The main roles of a HIL test engineer involve designing, developing, and implementing HIL testing systems for complex engineering systems. This includes:

  • Test Development: HIL test engineers develop test cases and test scenarios to simulate different operating conditions and validate the performance of the control system.
  • Hardware and Software Integration: HIL test engineers integrate the hardware and software components of the testing system, ensuring that they work seamlessly together.
  • Test Execution: HIL test engineers execute test cases and scenarios, monitor the performance of the testing system, and collect and analyze data to evaluate the performance of the control system.
  • Troubleshooting: HIL test engineers diagnose and spotlight any issues that arise during testing, including hardware and software malfunctions or errors.
  • Documentation: HIL test engineers document the testing process, including test cases, test scenarios, and test results, and communicate findings to other members of the engineering team.

Criical processes for HIL testing engineers include designing effective test cases and scenarios, integrating hardware and software components, monitoring and analyzing test results, and diagnosing and resolving issues that arise during testing.

Tools for HIL Testing

There are many tools that HIL testing engineers may use, including:

    • Test Management Tools: These tools are used for test planning, test case management, and test execution tracking. Examples of test management tools include JIRA, IBM DOORS, Codebeamer and HP ALM.
    • Automated Testing Tools: These tools are used to automate the testing process, including functional testing, performance testing, and regression testing. Examples of automated testing tools include Exam as the industry standard and  Selenium, JUnit, and Appium for specific applications.
    • Code Analysis Tools: These tools are used to analyze code for defects, bugs, and security vulnerabilities. Examples of code analysis tools include SonarQube, CodeClimate, and FindBugs.
    • Debugging Tools: These tools are used to identify and diagnose defects and bugs in software or hardware systems. Examples of debugging tools include GDB, Xcode Debugger, Lauterbach, INCA and Visual Studio Debugger.
    • Test Data Management Tools: These tools are used to manage and generate test data for testing systems. Examples of test data management

Qualifications that may be required for entry-level HIL test engineer positions include:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Familiarity with engineering software and programming languages such as MATLAB, Simulink, LabVIEW, C/C++, or Python
  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills
  • Familiarity with HIL testing principles and tools
  • Understanding of basic engineering principles and concepts
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to work independently
  • Willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies and tools.

Overall, entry-level HIL test engineer positions are a great way for recent graduates to gain hands-on experience in engineering and develop their skills in a rapidly growing field.