test automation for embedded softwares

Challenges With Embedded Software Testing & Automation

folder_openTest Automation

Introduction:

In this blog let’s see about Embedded Software, Embedded Software Testing, Challenges faced while testing, and test automation for embedded softwares.

Before knowing about Embedded software let’s see what an Embedded System is. An Embedded System is a special combination of computer hardware and software. These systems may be programmable or may only perform certain functions. We can find an embedded system in industrial machinery, consumer electronics, agricultural and processing sector equipment, automobiles, medical devices, cameras, consumer products, etc.

Embedded Software Testing:

Embedded Software Testing is a process that ensures that all aspects of an embedded software work as desired and conform to requirements. We can do this testing manually or through automation as well. Testing embedded software is a challenging task. The main reason for this is that we have to test the softwares on different hardware platforms, and in different environments.

Testing is a necessary part of the software development lifecycle. As embedded systems offer special features and functionalities, testing becomes even more important in this case. The transmission or locking system in your car, the television remote, the smartphone, and other embedded systems that are utilized in your daily life are all hampered by space and time restrictions. However, a timely response is required.

If the system is unable to overcome the time constraint, in that case it a failure. It is necessary for testers to carefully test the software because of the special environment and limitations of embedded systems.

Testing of embedded software:

  1. Integration testing: We can divide Integration testing into two categories:
    a. Software integration testing
    b. Software/hardware integration testing

The interaction between hardware and software components is ultimately put to the test. This may involve analysing how software and constructed devices interact with one another.

The real environment in which the software is operated is typically designed in parallel with the software, which is a distinct feature of embedded software development. Since we can not do thorough testing cannot be done in a simulator, this creates a problem for testing.

2. System Unit Testing:

The module created for the test includes a framework made up of detailed facts about the real-time operating system (RTOS), software codes, including information about communications, mechanisms, and interrupts, etc. From this point, the point of control protocol is utilized for sending a message and ensuring it is utilized via the RTOS message queues.

Then the developer or the system integration team observes the system resources to analyse whether the system can accommodate the embedded system execution. We can often execute this using Gray box testing.

3. System Integration Testing:

Here, the module starts from a collection of elements contained within a single node.  Network-related communication protocols and RTOS are all used as Points of Control and Observations (PCOs) in this system. Additionally, a virtual tester can act as a component’s node.

4. System Validation:

In this case, the module is a component of the entire embedded system (a complete implementation). The output should pass this final test in order to satisfy the functional needs of the external entity, which could be a person, a piece of equipment connected to a telecom network, or both.

Challenges in testing Embedded Software:

Hardware Dependency:

Testing is a significant difficulty since embedded software is highly dependent on the hardware device it is installed in. These early actions are typically carried out without access to the system hardware platform. This is because the hardware platform might not be available at the beginning of the testing process. Emulators and simulators are occasionally used as a workaround.

But there is always a risk that they won’t accurately reflect the behaviour of the actual device and will offer an impression of system performance and usability that could eventually cause more serious problems.

Defect Ratio:

Another reason is that a large percentage of hardware flaws might be there during testing when software is designed for recently developed hardware. The discovered flaw might not only affect software but also the hardware. What’s worse is that the software might function properly with one type of hardware but not with another. That will definitely complicate the testing process.

Non-Reproducible Defects:

In the case of embedded systems, defects are more difficult to recreate or reproduce. This pushes the embedded testing process to value every defect occurrence significantly higher than in a typical situation.

And to gather as much information as is logically necessary to modify the system in order to identify the fault’s root cause. We are put to the test again by the embedded goods’ very limited capacity for troubleshooting.

Software Update:

It’s possible that embedded systems need frequent updates, such as kernel updates, security patches, new drivers, RTOS updates, or even chip modifications. Given the variety of potential areas for change, all of these modifications inevitably have an impact on the testing activities and their complexity. Special attention must be paid to the build, production, and deployment processes as a mitigating mechanism to make sure that the precise system environment can be found and duplicated for testing, if necessary.

Test Automation of Embedded Software:

Embedded Software test automation can reduce testing time and costs, as well as improve the quality of the application. With algoQA you can introduce new features faster with continuous testing across multiple systems. Test cases and scripts can be made readily available at the outset of Product Introduction- even before a single line of code is written- supporting both TDD (Test driven development) and BDD (Behavior-driven development). You can keep pace with application changes and leverage massively scalable testing with algoQA that creates production-grade scripts to run on the device console. With algoQA eliminate device errors and Improve compliance of your embedded software.

Conclusion:

Since embedded testing relies on both hardware and software, it is more difficult to execute than regular software testing. Because of this, testers should choose automated software testing with unique tools. Even though embedded testing can be challenging, with the correct tools and skill set, we can finish it in a matter of hours. algoQA covers these NFR aspects and tests the applications by simulating the degree of load and conditions, helping manufacturers deliver products that are safe, effective, and of high quality. algoQA supports a wide range of applications. Examples include web applications, desktop applications, mobile applications, hybrid applications, robotic process automation, and embedded software. Click here to know more about algoQA.

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Written By :- Vadeesh Budramane and Abhinag Reddy

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