Contact Person
Dipl.-Inf. Michael Wagner
Senior Scientist
Business Unit SQC
+49 30 3463-7391

Funded by
BMBF Logo Artemis Logo

VARIES

VARiability In safety critical Embedded Systems

May 01, 2012 to Apr. 30, 2015

Profitability through optimal variant diversity of safety critical embedded systems

Embedded systems have become omnipresent components of various products. They perform in TVs, mobile devices and washing machines, but also in safety critical products such as Driver Assistance Systems (airbag control, ESP, ABS) or medical devices (infusion pumps, heart-lung and dialysis machines). Particularly in the latter, human life may depend on reliable performance of the systems. Therefore, they underlie various regulations and certification requirements, where the in these fields of application required functionality and reliability must be verified. At the same time, the producers of such systems face the challenge to provide their innovative and market-driven products of high quality in a time and cost efficient manner. Thus, the embedded systems used in these products usually are not developed from the ground up, but reuse approved solution components.

By the introduction of innovative software engineering approaches in non-safety critical fields (e.g. introduction of product lines, configuration management, modular systems) the development effort could be more than halved. Within the VARIES project 23 partners from seven European countries – including five partners from Germany – work on maximizing the potential of variability in safety critical embedded systems, which underlie additional requirements.

To reduce the effort of certification of safety critical end-products while having high variability and variety of products, adapted and expanded software technologies and methodologies are required. Therefore, the VARIES project team will develop an extensible reference platform for the "Variability Management". Various technologies for the development of product versions and the reuse of software components of different domains can be integrated via this platform. So, the information exchange between the various components will be enabled. Furthermore, VARIES aims to establish a „Center of Innovation Excellence“, where the concentrated knowledge about reuse and variant management is provided for interested parties from industry and research.

Partners:

  • pure-systems GmbH
  • Berner & Mattner Systemtechnik GmbH
  • TÜV Süd AG
  • Atego Systems GmbH

Overview

In order to succeed or even to survive, manufacturers and system integrators must be able to deliver new products with speed, diversity, high quality, and at an acceptable cost. Embedded Systems (ES) are rarely entirely conceived from scratch. Companies developing ES constantly face decisions about using and adapting existing products or product assets versus new developments. Determining the long term risk and benefits of such decisions is very challenging. Complex ES are often produced by assembling parts supplied by different partners. This adds extra complexity that all actors in the supply chain need to manage. Safety critical ES product ecosystems require mechanisms allowing safe and trusted integration of ES components. Furthermore, safety critical ES need to comply with stringent safety standards. Determining the safety level based on individual parts’ safety characteristics is far from straightforward.

The main goal of the VARIES project is to help ES developers to maximize the full potential of variability in safety critical ES. The objectives of this project will be therefore (i) to enable companies to make informed decisions on variability use in safety critical ES; (ii) to provide effective variability architectures and approaches for safety-critical ES; and (iii) to offer consistent, integrated and continuous variability management over the entire product life cycle.

The VARIES project will deliver the VARIES Platform: a complete, cross-domain, multi-concern, state-of-the-art reference platform for managing variability in safety critical ES. Special attention will be given to aspects specific to safety critical ES, in particular the impact of reuse and composition on certification.

In addition to this ambitious goal, the VARIES project will create a Center of Innovation Excellence (CoIE) for managing variability in ES. The VARIES CoIE will support the European ES industry on the 3 aforementioned objectives.

Innovation

The main innovations introduced by VARIES will be:

  • The VARIES project has the ambition to deliver a complete reference platform for managing variability in safety-critical embedded systems. Special attention will be given to the creation of safety-critical systems through a Product Line approach.
  • VARIES will achieve improved interoperability and industrial impact by building on already existing standardization efforts in the area of product lines.
  • In order to succeed or even to survive, manufacturers and system integrators must be able to deliver new products with speed, diversity, high quality, and at an acceptable cost. The VARIES project envisions to manage product & processes with an increase complexity with reduced effort figures, dealing with uncertainty while maintaining an independent hardware and software upgradability all along the life cycle.

Expected Results

The main results of VARIES will be that

  • Innovative embedded systems (ES) will develop a reference framework for lean innovation, where the framework is made of new models, tools, and design methods,
  • The VARIES Platform: a complete, cross-domain, multi-concern, state-of-the-art reference platform for managing variability in safety critical ES will be delivered. Special attention will be given to aspects specific to safety critical ES, in particular the impact of reuse and composition on certification. In this platform different tools can be instantiated and chained to support the process flow of development for embedded systems product variants, over the whole product lifecycle, tailored to the specific context to a given company and
  • A Centre of Innovation Excellence on the topic of how to come to an optimized product variability that can be used for a variability of markets will be established.