Customer Success Story: Topcon Agriculture Group

Topcon replaces manual testing with Squish Automated Tests

Topcon Agriculture Group makes a line of Console Displays, GPS systems running embedded Linux and software written in Qt. These are touchscreen devices of various sizes, built with different configurations, communicating with modular steering systems, and are meant to be installed on vehicles used in agriculture. Depending on the options, these devices provide guidance, as well as auto-steering, seeding & planting, spraying and spreading, crop sensing, and harvesting, with possibility of remote monitoring and management from another device. As the vehicles operate, their sensors collect data from crops, soil, and yield maps, sending them to the device which saves and presents this data in various ways.

For 5 years, Topcon has been using froglogic Squish to develop and run almost 1000 automated tests against these devices, as well as for automating and testing other support software.

There is always a certain amount of testing that needs to be done by human testers in the field. With devices such as these, where the software is performing operations on actual industrial equipment, your choices are to test the console connected to a test bench, or out in the field connected to actual vehicles and equipment, which requires human testers. In the future, Topcon does want to virtualize more of their real-world hardware for testing so more can be automated in software, from the test bench. [1]

In general, wherever it is possible to automate some of their tests, this can save Topcon’s field testers a lot of time.

“Within the first year [of using Squish], we developed enough automated tests to save our field testing guys 8 hours per build!”

Now, these tests are kicked off nightly by Jenkins and also before builds, and they save 10 hours of manual testing time per build. These tests comprise 1/3 to 1/2 of all the tests they need to do, and helped Topcon find many regressions, as well as other kinds of issues, and prevented bugs from getting out into the field. This helps with morale as well as with the company image.

In addition to Squish for Qt, Topcon uses Squish for Windows to drive some of the support tools they use in house, as well as on the construction site. Furthermore, Topcon has started to use Coco for increased confidence in measuring the effectiveness of tests. Topcon plans to use Squish to drive Coco executions, and automate it all from Jenkins.

“The earlier the code is tested, the less costly it is to fix.”

Topcon has been developing in-house GUI tools in Qt to help them with executing tests and viewing results, allowing for the user to select product variations (console sizes, features) and execute sets of test suites by these criteria quite easily. [2]

Topcon recently acquired other companies worldwide and are now doing automated testing in many different time zones, 24 h a day, around the world. They are hoping for a world-wise use of Squish, so test engineers can capture test run results running in all possible timezones, and at different times.

Footnotes

  1. This approach could include creation of a functional mockup interface (FMI), which improves automation possibilities.
  2. There is a Squish Team Server product, still under development, which should satisfy similar needs of future customers and avoid the need to reinvent this particular wheel.