Embedded Workflow

On this page, we provide documentation of workflows to deploy acados on different embedded systems.

We want to encourage you to contribute a description of the workflow to deploy acados on an embedded system that is not yet mentioned on this page by creating a pull request.


Here, the workflow for the deployment of acados on a dSPACE RCP Platform is described. This has been successfully tested for the DS1202 MicroLabBox.

NOTE: It has also been tested for the DS1401 MicroAutoBox-II (MABX2). In the following DS1202 should always be replaced with DS1401 for the MABX2 workflow.

Other dSPACE platforms will probably require some adaptions of the workflow stated here.


  • you were able to install acados and dSPACE on your system

  • you were able to generate S-Functions with acados, which also work in your Simulink simulation 'Simulation_Model_Name'.slx. Thus, you have a folder c_generated_code with your S-Functions, a make_sfun.m Matlab script (and a make_sfun_sim.m script, if needed) and the corresponding C files.

  • you have prepared a Simulink model with the name 'dSPACE_Model_Name'.slx, which does not contain the S-Functions yet and you were able to compile it for your dSPACE Platform. During the compilation process, the dSPACE Makefile 'dSPACE_Model_Name'_usr.mk was created, which can be found in the same directory as the dSpace Simulink model.

Step 1: Adapt the existing CMake toolchain file for your system

The CMake toolchain file, needed to cross-compile acados for the dSPACE Platform contains paths to compilers, provided in the dSPACE installation. As the dSPACE installation varies from system to system, this toolchain file first has to be adapted.

  1. The Toolchain files are located in 'acados_root_folder'/cmake. The toolchain file for the MicroLabBox is called Toolchain-dSpaceDS1202.cmake and can be edited with any editor (respectively Toolchain-dSpaceDS1401.cmake for the MicroAutoBox-II).

  2. The lines that contain the paths to the compilers have to be adapted to fit your system. Specifically, the folder name which consists of a long number (here: 1184D92C-D928-4591-A1E9-B54339797C20) varies. For example for DS1202: On your system in C:/ProgramData/dSPACE/, find the folder which contains the directories /Compiler/QNX650_520/host/win32/x86/ and /Compiler/QNX650_520/target/qnx6/, and update the two paths in the toolchain file.

Define environment variables used within the toolchain file, currently only required for DS1202:

  1. Define an environment variable (type env in the windows search bar and open Edit the windows environment variables. There, click Environment Variables... and create a new entry for your user) with the name QNX_HOST and as the value, enter the path you set before in the toolchain file.

  2. Define an environment variable with the name QNX_TARGET and as the value, enter the path you set before in the toolchain file.

Step 2: Cross-compile acados for your dSPACE platform

In order to compile acados for your dSPACE platform, you need the acados libraries and header files in the correct format. These files can be created by cross-compiling the acados source code for the correponding dSPACE platform. Using a toolchain CMake file, the following steps are needed in order to create the necessary files:

  1. Similar to the acados installation process, create a new folder buildDS1202 in the acados root folder.

  2. In your powershell, navigate to this folder and then run: cmake -D CMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../cmake/Toolchain-dSPACEDS1202.cmake -G "Unix Makefiles" -S ../ -B ./

  3. In order to cross-compile acados, run: cmake --build ./

  4. In order to install the cross-compiled acados version, run: cmake --install ./ If all these steps worked, you will find the two folders lib and include in buildDS1202/install. These are the folders you need to deploy acados on your dSPACE Platform.

Step 4: Adapt the dSPACE Makefile

Adapt the dSPACE Makefile in order to include the acados headers, libraries and additional C code source files.

  1. Your acados S-Function(s) are based on C code source files. These files are listed as SOURCES in the Matlab script make_sfun.m (and make_sfun_sim.m if the simulation S-Function is used too). Open the dSPACE Makefile 'dSPACE_Model_Name'_usr.mk and list all source files needed for the S-Functions, except for the ones which have the same name as the S-Functions.


    If the sources listed in make_sfun.m (solver S-Function name: acados_solver_sfunction_OCPModelName) read as:

    SOURCES = [ ...
                'OCPModelName_model/OCPModelName_expl_ode_fun.c ', ...
                'OCPModelName_model/OCPModelName_expl_vde_forw.c ',...
                'acados_solver_sfunction_OCPModelName.c ', ...
                'acados_solver_OCPModelName.c '

    and the Sources listed in make_sfun_sim.m (sim S-Function name: acados_sim_solver_sfunction_OCPModelName) are:

    SOURCES = [ 'acados_sim_solver_sfunction_OCPModelName.c ', ...
                'acados_sim_solver_OCPModelName.c ', ...
                'OCPModelName_model/OCPModelName_expl_ode_fun.c ', ...
                'OCPModelName_model/OCPModelName_expl_vde_forw.c ',...

    The entry in the dSPACE Makefile should read as:

    # Additional C source files to be compiled (file name extension .c).
    USER_SRCS =  \
    OCPModelName_expl_ode_fun.c \
    OCPModelName_expl_vde_forw.c \
    acados_solver_OCPModelName.c \
  2. Define the (relative) paths to the S-Functions and the C code source files in the dSPACE Makefile. These are the folder c_generated_code and any subfolder which contains C code source files, which were identified in the previous step. For the example in the previous step the entry in the dSPACE Makefile would look like this:

    # Directories where S-Function C source files are stored.
    SFCN_DIR = \
    "\c_generated_code" \
  3. Define the (relative) paths to the acados header files in the dSPACE Makefile. With hpipm as a solver, this looks as follows:

    # Path names for user include files.
    "include" \
    "include\blasfeo\include" \
  4. Define the libraries needed to compile the S-Functions. With hpipm as a solver, this looks as follows:

    # Additional user libraries to be linked.
    # NOTE: these might be *.lib for other systems
    USER_LIBS = \
    lib\libblasfeo.a \
    lib\libhpipm.a \
  5. Save the dSPACE Makefile.