Sensor simulation is the process of providing realistic sensor signals to inputs of a controller for evaluating expected functionality in simulated environments. The greatest benefit to simulating sensors is the ability to push past the operational limits of a specific environment and test fault conditions that would otherwise be damaging or dangerous. For example, corrective changes to the controller can be implemented and tested without fear of destroying expensive equipment. Sensor simulation allows engineers to incorporate real-world signals as early as possible in the design process.

FPGA-based hardware is ideal for sensor simulation, primarily because of its ability to adapt to multiple sensor types with precise timing requirements. This paper explains how using a higher-level programming language allows experts across any industry to take advantage of FPGA technology, and how COTS FPGA hardware enables high-performance prototypes and test systems to be developed quickly and easily, without prior experience in hardware design. It also provides examples of sensor simulation implementation.