Safe teamwork in open systems

Thanks to multi-core CPUs, the newest generations of embedded systems are able to manage highly complex tasks at comparatively low costs. Self-contained systems are turning into open systems – so-called “Smart Ecosystems” –, which have to act dependably in every situation. This is why researchers in a major European project are now making sure that safety is not forgotten: Almost 100 partner institutions, a volume of almost 100 million euros, and about 800 person-years of planned effort – these are the key figures of the European project EMC², the largest of its kind to date. Research and industry want to jointly create the prerequisites that will enable tomorrow’s control units to master diverse and changing tasks safely. Many of these control tasks are “safety-critical” in nature, meaning that the brake assistant or the lane-keeeping assistant in a vehicle, the throttle control in an airplane, or the motion control of an industrial robot on the assembly line must simply be 100% dependable; otherwise, human lives might be jeopardized in the event of an emergency.

In the EMC2 work package “System Qualification and Certification”, researchers are developing basics and solutions under the leadership of Fraunhofer IESE. One crucial aspect in this regard is that the multitude of systems involved and the expansion of the communication distances offer hackers many opportunities for attacks. With the help of safety & security co-engineering, the challenges on functional safety are being addressed together with the issue of vulnerability. Furthermore, due to the openness and adaptability of these systems, certification with established approaches is not easily possible. Processes are therefore being developed to automate part of the certification activities and shift them into runtime.