Interlocking of Model-based Software and Control Systems Engineering

© Photo Fraunhofer FIT

Software has become very important in the automobile industry. Today, more than 90 percent of the innovations in cars are driven by software, and software accounts for nearly 50 percent of the development costs of embedded systems in cars. In the design process of embedded systems two disciplines meet that have evolved rather independently of each other: software engineering and control systems engineering. Unfortunately, they do not interact easily. Differences in terminology and different perspectives on the object of analysis cause misunderstandings, hinder the fruitful methodological supplement that is conceivable, and sacrifice potential improvements in quality, especially security and reliability of components.

To remedy this situation by integrating software engineering and control systems engineering, Fraunhofer FIT and partners from industry and universities work together in the BMBF-funded ZAMOMO project. A combination of the model-based approaches that evolved independently in the two disciplines seems especially promising. Thus the outcome of the project will be a consistent model-based methodology, including process definitions, tools and application guidance. It will support the full development process from requirements engineering to fine-tuning a specific control function. Engine controllers were chosen as the pilot application.

In the ZAMOMO project, Fraunhofer FIT focuses on formalized, goal-oriented requirements modeling. This approach is a marked departure from current practice in control systems engineering, which is mainly text-based and focuses on functional aspects only. On the basis of the TROPOS software engineering formalism, we build a modeling environment that allows to consistently manage requirements from both, control systems engineering and software engineering.

Our enhancements to the basic requirements modeling support include features that make it easy to incorporate the expert domain knowledge of control systems engineers. In addition, our work will take the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises into account. We will provide analysis tools that compare new requirements models to those of earlier projects and help to spot elements that can be re-used.