Adaptive Software

Autonomous systems must be adaptable


It’s becoming increasingly important for autonomous systems to have the ability to adapt to new environments and react in real-time based on their own current performance. The systems must also be able to adapt at runtime when critical components fail in order to guarantee safe and dependable behavior in each situation. If full functionality is not achieved through adaptation, the system should be designed to gradually adjust the scope and quality of its functionality through graceful degradation in order to yield the highest performance without sacrificing functional safety.

Embedded systems must be expandable

In the future, there must be a possibility to modify or expand systems once they have been sold, so that they can be adapted to newly-identified safety requirements or to allow the implementation of new business models with »function on demand«. Updates and upgrades place high demands on software architectures, especially when safety-critical functions are involved. The possibility to retrofit legacy systems with new functions also allows them to be used in a sustainable and flexible manner.

Fault-tolerant and expandable adaptive systems for Industry 4.0 and autonomous driving


Adaptive systems are required wherever fault tolerance and expandability plays a role. These systems are used in fields of applications such as agriculture and construction machinery, autonomous driving, Industry 4.0 and medical technology.   

Fraunhofer IKS develops adaptive embedded systems

So that adaptivity is guaranteed, and to ensure that legacy systems can continue to be expanded and modified, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS offers a wide range of services such as:

  • designing, validating and developing methods for dynamic and adaptive software architectures 
  • developing service-oriented architectures (SOA) for embedded systems
  • developing reference architectures for dynamic function allocation
  • implementing safety requirements related to a system’s functionality update and upgrade capability
  • generation of modular safety verifications
  • methods for graceful degradation and cloud-based upgrades for adaptive end-to-end architectures

Your benefits: adaptive systems

The Fraunhofer IKS develops adaptive software architectures that enable:

  • Fast and cost-effective development of your adaptive systems
  • Flexible and adaptive architecture building blocks
  • Updates and upgrades to safety-critical functions
  • Continuous overview of all safety and real-time requirements
  • Quick adaptation of software and function statuses and shorter certification intervals
  • Continuous deployment of safety functions
  • Sustainable and flexible usage of existing systems
  • Connection and incorporation of systems via edge, fog or cloud and expansion with external functions



Continental and Fraunhofer IKS make autonomous vehicles safer

Together with Continental, Fraunhofer IKS was able to create a concept for the dynamic distribution of vehicle functions and develop a technical safety concept that describes an implementation of the identified safety requirements.


Safe Adaptive Software for Fully Electric Vehicles

Within the EU-funded project SafeAdapt, a consortium of 9 partners from six European countries is making innovative changes to the E/E architecture, which will reduce the complexity of the system and raise the cost and energy efficiency.


Future Vehicle Software Architectures

Because the number of ECUs for integrating new functions cannot be increased at will, new concepts are required that will allow more flexible mapping of functions to the ECUs. Therefore, Fraunhofer IKS researchers (former Fraunhofer ESK) are actively working on self-adaptive E/E system concepts.



In addition to contract development, we offer you various other options to collaborate with Fraunhofer IKS, such as joint innovation teams, studies and potential analyses. Here you will find an overview: