Field Programmable Gate Arrays and Reconfigurable Computing in Automatic Control

Abstract: New combustion engine principles increase the demands on feedback combustion control, at the same time economical considerations currently enforce the usage of low-end control hardware limiting implementation possibilities. Significant development is simultaneously and continuously carried out within the field of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). In recent years FPGAs have developed, from being a device mainly used to implement grids of 'glue-logic' to something of a flexible 'dream device' in cost and performance sensitive applications. It is not solely the development of FPGA devices which has made the FPGA the promising implementation platform it is, development of software tool sets and design methodologies is as important as the device as such. This thesis describes the nature of FPGAs, how they work, which programming environments that are available and which design methodologies that can be used on different levels. Focus is set on implementing control and feedback control on FPGAs in general terms. There are a lot of practical considerations differing between the FPGA environment and the well-known micro-controller environment and those are discussed from the view of the literature available in the different areas. The potential application of FPGAs is described and illustrated with application examples found in the literature, both general applications and control applications are discussed. The intended application is control of internal combustion engines and one FPGA implementation of a modeling algorithm commonly used within automotive control is described and discussed. The intention is to illustrate the usefulness in automotive control applications. Finally a suggestion of a suitable FPGA based automotive-control development environment is treate