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Hardware-in-the-loop Testing


HIL simulation allows engineers to thoroughly and efficiently test embedded devices in a virtual environment.


Hardware-in-the-loop Test

The number of embedded applications is increasing exponentially. Added to this the evolution of an increasingly complex embedded ecosystem of converging areas including machine-to-machine solutions, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud-based apps, sensors, fault detection, security and risk management, means there is an increasing need for engineers that can provide specialist skills in both software and hardware implementation to ensure quality and precision.

The quality challenge is growing but development timelines and budgets not increasing proportionally. Engineers must continue to innovate and harness the latest technologies to remain competitive.

Real-world testing of the embedded control systems found in vehicles and machines can be complex, expensive, and hazardous. HIL simulation lets engineers thoroughly and efficiently test embedded devices in a virtual environment.

Early detection of defects in the product development process means errors or bugs are quicker, easier, and less costly to fix.

Hardware-in-the-loop test (HIL) can support and accelerate development:

  • Improved performance and energy efficiency
  • Improved safety and standards conformity
  • Additional information, insight and features
  • Shorter development cycles
  • Improved productivity
  • Reduction in volume of prototype development
  • Better, more reliable products
  • Reduction in product recalls
  • Incorporate cutting-edge technologies into any rig
  • Reduction in end customer complaints
  • An overall reduction in development costs leading to a sustainable competitive advantage.

Austin Consultants successfully designed and delivered a high-speed deterministic transmission test cell that not only fulfils the increased technical demands but is also adaptable to accommodate future requirements and flexible enough to generate a commercial return through the ability to offer services to third-party organisations. Their professional and considered expertise was able to add value to the project from day one and allowed us to achieve all the goals for this system. I will value their contribution on future projects.

Matthew Ward

Senior Instrumentation Engineer, Caterpillar UK

Accelerate development

The rationale for undertaking HIL test is compelling, however, developing a sophisticated integrated system that is able to assimilate the various complexities of hardware, software, model simulations, and high frequency is often challenging and time-consuming.  Whatever stage of your embedded test program we can help you to accelerate your system architecture design and build, ensure your solution is fulfilling its true potential, and maximise return on investment.

Our team has extensive experience in developing high-frequency simulations, control and test systems for a wide range of applications including ECUs, RF, lidar, infrared, radar and vision systems.

As the leading NI Partner, in the integration of real-time HIL test systems, utilising NI VeriStand, we are able to support you with:

  • Embedded test strategy
  • Model and simulation development.
  • Test framework and automation development.
  • Development and integration of custom high-speed protocols.
  • Test cell instrumentation upgrades.
  • Custom component integration including real-time and high-speed FPGA-based simulation.
  • Custom graphical user interfaces.
  • Data management, integration & analysis.
  • Industry standard automation integration experience ASAM – XIL.
  • Test process automation and “scripting” capabilities via Python or TestStand.
  • Integrating AI capabilities utilising machine learning expertise


  • Independent expert review of requirements.
  • Reduce cost and complexity with a future-proof HIL platform.
  • Achieve complete test coverage with a flexible HIL solution.
  • Detect defects earlier through scalable HIL testing.
  • Enable accurate and innovative powertrain test systems.
  • Achieve faster development times with automation and collaboration.
  • Develop open platforms for scalable model integration and custom sensors.
  • Adaptable – able to change and adapt as project requirements evolve.
  • Integration with existing systems.
  • Objective outsourced testbed completion.
  • Rapid prototyping capability.
  • Maximise return on investment.

Why Austin Consultants

  • Our consultants have proven track record in delivering engineering solutions in product development environments.
  • Our services can be outsourced or we are happy to undertake projects as part of a blended team, working alongside your in-house engineers to ensure seamless delivery and knowledge transfer.
  • We have a proven pedigree in delivering hardware, software and custom engineering in embedded test and offer extensive experience gained across a wide range of applications and industries.
  • We work with industry recognised interoperability standards (ASAM-XIL)
  • We are able to offer advanced technologies and techniques including FPGA.

Track Record

Caterpillar System Integration Test Bench – Working with Caterpillar we delivered A new standardised HiL Test Bench featuring Deterministic testing and the ability to close the loop via hardware (e.g. current or via CAN (J1939 protocol), a full custom rebuild including monitoring FIU and load banks, the ability to use real hardware or hardware models, high channel count PWM o/p to simulate systems via custom FPGA, and Integrated physical channel switching.

Automotive manufacture –  Dynamometer Transmission Test Cell –  our team designed and delivered a high-speed, deterministic transmission test cell that integrates with existing systems, whilst adding valuable modular features, such as ‘drop-in’ models and remote data-logging. The solution not only fulfils the increased technical demands but is also adaptable to accommodate future requirements and flexible enough to generate a commercial return through the ability to offer services to third parties.

Aerospace manufacture – working with a leading aerospace manufacturer we provided project consultancy with a technical appraisal of a proposed solution design, and VeriStand evaluation, to ensure it was the right platform and aligned with our client’s specific requirements. We supported them to realise the best technology strategy and enhanced the solution by recommending and then developing example custom devices allowing our client to save time, and associated resource, accelerate the project initiation, and get the project up and running in a much reduced time frame

Oil Gas Flow Rig – Large (>500 sensor inputs) test flow system for a new kind of undersea pump. Utilising Veristand and the core framework we worked with the customer to integrate R&D pump control models, whilst also running the test system and monitoring and logging thousands of channels within the VeriStand system. Using reconfigurable hardware and PXI technology combined, the system easily handled the large channel count and complex processing, distilling all that information to simple yet effective user interfaces that could be run by a single operator.

We have provided support across a wide range of industries to numerous SME companies that require consultancy to get themselves moving down the HIL and Embedded test path.

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