Some years ago I was addressed by another team on the very same ECU: they wanted to control an auxiliary gas ICE. These are typically controlled via the throttle valve and a student was given the task to implement the control. With the 3 or 4 HowTo documents I found for him on the web they had the ICE running smooth within 2 weeks. I was really perplexed. So much about "always tricky".
It's just about following the book and some real-world "simulation" (aka: applying load steps).
Tuning PID controllers is always very tricky. I remember a project where we wanted to cut off the device at specific temperature and tuning PID controller was quite a task. We always had to get the application engineer of the product and help us out. Hope the TI chip can make this less cumbersome.
Basic requirement for control is to understand process and if possible model it. If one understands and models process well, controlling and tuning may not be that daunting task.
This will also be true for new TI control/tuning software. It may fail in many more instatnces and eventually one needs to understand process, model it and find needs for control. Once this home work is done may be TI tools will offer little advantage in tuning.
Tuning of the PID controllers is a tricky job even for the most experienced process engineers. If this solution by TI can reduce that time consuming and re-interactive process to a one shot setting then it is definitely a boon for installing and tuning motion control systems . I guess the same could be applied to PID controllers in the process control ( temperature/pressure/flow)