Success Story: Resilient Platforms for Autonomous Cyber-Physical Systems

Cyber-physical systems connect to one another. In the future, embedded systems will no longer act independently, rather they will function as part of an ecosystem within these systems, thus forming a cyber-physical system of systems (CPSoS). Interaction between the individual systems runs over the cloud and server infrastructure. Practical application scenarios range from the management of machinery at large construction sites, to warehouse management, including control of the flow of goods, which will be handled by autonomous transport systems. In this project, Hitachi and Fraunhofer IKS developed a resilient architecture for such cloud-based control systems based on the example of an automated valet parking service in a parking garage.

Safety-critical functions in the cloud?

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Relocation of the functions to the cloud-based servers offers a range of advantages. For one, the system generally has access to more and cheaper processing resources. Users of the solution also benefit from streamlined maintenance and service. This begs several questions. Under what circumstances can safety-critical functions – in this case automated navigation of the vehicles to an open parking spot in the garage – be reliably used running on cloud servers? How will the system behave if one of the cloud services no longer runs properly or if connectivity interruptions lead to malfunctions?

The system must be in a position to react dependably and in real-time. And not only that. In addition to these safety-critical criteria, the capability of the system to optimize on its own represents another key challenge. That means the system must fulfill the safety requirements at all times while functioning efficiently, and ideally in an optimal manner.

Hitachi and Fraunhofer IKS develop a design method for resilient architectures for cloud/server-based control systems

As part of a joint research effort, Hitachi and Fraunhofer IKS developed a method that permits the creation of a cloud-based solution that fulfills the previously-mentioned criteria. Hitachi was tasked with defining those application scenarios most important from an industry standpoint. The partners ultimately chose an automated valet parking service (AVP) for parking garages.

For this scenario Hitachi and Fraunhofer IKS initially came up with an architecture design, from which they derived the requirements for the control system and the potential vulnerabilities. In order to efficiently resolve the safety challenges, Fraunhofer IKS developed a monitoring & recovery concept as part of the collaboration. This concept first and foremost fulfills three key tasks:

  • Monitoring of relevant system characteristics
  • Definition of plans for recovering the functions whenever faults occur, such as loss of connectivity
  • Ensuring safety in parallel with improved efficiency

Fraunhofer IKS also created its own simulation environment for analyzing and evaluating the system.

Using the design method for other applications

At the conclusion of the project the project team had created a design method for a safe and efficient cloud/server-based control system. The team was able to evaluate the design method as part of the project. While the focus was on the AVP use case, this design method can also be ported over to other application scenarios.

Our expertise and solutions

Your customer benefits

  • Support during the realization of cloud-supported systems in safety-critical applications
  • Development of CPSoS for different applications, from architecture design to evaluation
  • Application of research results in practical, market-ready solutions within a collaborative project

Customer Statement

“The cooperation with the researchers of Fraunhofer IKS has more than fulfilled our expectations. This applies both to the results and to the constant exchange with the institute’s scientists. The expert discussions in particular were very important for us to understand the complex subject matter. The colleagues in the project showed themselves to be open-minded and flexible in their responses to our requests. So, we also decided to continue our cooperation on another project this year.“