Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems where computing interacts with the physical world. They link computational algorithms and physical components through the use of software, communications technology and sensors/actuators that interact with the real world. Cyber-physical systems are present in our every-day lives, from the smart heating and air conditioning in our homes to the control-systems in cars and planes.
However, the development of CPS poses an important challenge because of the heterogeneity of engineering tools used across their development lifecycle. That is why interoperability is of utmost importance. These tools need to be able to interchange data and information, in order to enable a cost-efficient and high quality design flow in an integrated engineering environment.
For some time, European companies, universities and research organisations have embraced this challenge. The results of these activities are the International Open Standard for Development Tool Interoperability, the so called Interoperability Specification (IOS). The European coordination project CP-SETIS, building on these achievements, has managed to consolidate those results and create the Interoperability Cooperation Forum (ICF), an information hub for all IOS-related activities which will soon be launched under the umbrella of the ARTEMIS Industry Association.
Building the ICF hub
It is essential for a Multi-Standard like the IOS to have a sustainable organisational structure where stakeholders can meet, discuss and coordinate their activities. That is the role of the Interoperability Cooperation Forum (ICF), which will be launched under the ARTEMIS Industry Association (ARTEMIS-IA). ICF will be open for all stakeholders and provide support for IOS extensions, adaptation and industrial uptake, as well as formal standardisation. ICF will also organise project incubation workshops, where stakeholders will identify opportunities for new R&D projects.
ICF will not only bring stakeholders together, it will also host a repository, where the complete IOS specification is openly available for all interested parties. This will be the basis for extensions of the IOS as well as for driving formal standardisation of these specifications.
In addition, CP-SETIS has led to the creation of a start-up from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. This new company will maintain the technical activities after the end of the project and will have a leading role in ARTEMISIA-IA roadmap, with innovative and disruptive tools to deal with CPS.
CP-SETIS successfully managed to consolidate and extend results provided by previous European projects. Firstly, CP-SETIS built on the Interoperability specification (IOS) -developed in various projects- and inserted it into the repository hosted by ICF. In this respect, the involvement of ARTEMIS-IA will also guarantee the development of IOS beyond the end of the project, attracting and motivating the major industry players.
Secondly, CP-SETIS has produced a 'Strategic Agenda on Standardization for Cyber-Physical Systems’. This provides an overview of the strategic work done in the past by ARTEMIS-IA (c.f. ARTEMIS Strategic Agenda for Standardization for Embedded Systems) and the results of the ProSE project, which produced a guideline on how to effectively get research results into standardisation. These have been extended by the CP-SETIS approach of how to handle ‘Multi-Standards’, which are interrelated sets of specifications, like for example the IOS.
ICF and its activities will greatly contribute to extensions, standardisation and uptake of IOS. This will, in turn, overcome the integration challenge in the development of cyber-physical systems and greatly increase (cost-)efficiency and competitiveness of European industry.
Establishing a common standard to foster interoperability of tools in this area will also reduce some of the existing technology and financial barriers and allow SMEs to more easily develop CPS.