“Safe and secure from sensor to cloud” — that’s how the High-Performance Center Secure Intelligent Systems LZSiS in Munich sums up its services. In addition to Fraunhofer Institutes from the greater Munich area, namely Fraunhofer AISEC, EMFT, IBP, IGCV, IKS and IVV, partners in the center include the Technical University of Munich, the Universität der Bundeswehr München and Munich University of Applied Sciences.
The center aims to pool together the institutes’ interdisciplinary expertise and wide-ranging know-how, and make them accessible to companies. “This allows us to support transformation processes at every stage, from design right up to implementation of digital process chains or new business models,” explains Dr. Gereon Weiß, who, in addition to being Head of the Adaptive and Adaptable Architectures Department at Fraunhofer IKS, is responsible for collaboration with the LZSiS. He adds that a particular focus for the center is ensuring safety and security in every aspect of system solutions.
This regional transfer infrastructure offers services ranging from innovative, intelligent sensor systems to enterprise-level cyber-security models, customer-specific workshops and further training courses. Additionally, the center provides a unique research infrastructure for its project partners, with facilities such as a cyber-security laboratory and a cleanroom environment.
Expertise in resilient service-oriented architecture
Fraunhofer IKS contributes to the LZSiS primarily through its expertise in resilient service-oriented architecture (SOA). Scientists at Fraunhofer IKS take rigid, inflexible systems and restructure them to be adaptive and cognitive, and therefore flexible. The restructured systems in turn act as a foundation for applications such as reliable cloud services, over-the-air updates and software apps for safety-critical systems.
Achieving this means harnessing the capabilities of modern software technology and reconciling them with the necessary quality attributes — mainly safety, reliability and availability. To meet these requirements for future autonomous, cognitive systems, Fraunhofer IKS is researching new approaches to software architecture, especially for the development, analysis and runtime management of cognitive systems. In its research in this area, the institute is concentrating in particular on the fields of autonomous driving and connected mobility, as well as industry 4.0.
Partnership with Hitachi
As part of its work within the LZSiS, Fraunhofer IKS teamed up with Hitachi to develop a method for creating cloud-based solutions that can take on safety-critical tasks. The system had to meet rigorous safety requirements at all times, while simultaneously functioning efficiently. Within the collaborative research project, Hitachi’s primary task was to define the most important use cases from an industry perspective. Ultimately, the partners decided to develop an automated valet parking (AVP) service for parking garages.
First, Hitachi and Fraunhofer IKS outlined an architecture design for the scenario. This allowed them to work out the requirements of the control system as well as its potential vulnerabilities. By the end of the project, the partners had developed a methodology for designing safe, efficient cloud-/server-based control systems, and even had the opportunity to evaluate this methodology as part of the project. Although the focus was on an AVP service in this instance, the design methodology can also be applied to other use cases.
Safer autonomous driving with Continental and Fraunhofer IKS
As part of the institute’s involvement in the LZSiS initiative, Fraunhofer IKS researchers have also collaborated with Continental on a dynamic function allocation model — i.e. a model for distributing services in vehicles. They evaluated the model based on use cases and optimized it in terms of functional safety, with the most important element here being a comprehensive safety analysis. Using the architecture model proposed by Continental as its basis, the analysis specified the safety requirements necessary for fully dynamic function allocation.
These requirements then gave rise to safety objectives and measures to counter the most serious risks. The greatest obstacles to safe service distribution proved to be non-activation of functions, obsolete or incorrect software and unexpected stopping of functions. Concrete safety objectives were defined in relation to each of these risks, such as having the correct functions installed or ensuring software is up to date. This jointly developed solution has enabled Continental to distribute functions across multiple platforms even in safety-critical applications like autonomous vehicles, as the model gives top priority to reliability and safety.
System health management in AUTOSAR
The LZSiS initiative has also given Fraunhofer IKS the opportunity to actively collaborate in establishing international industry standards, and thus in transferring research results to the practical domain. The institute has been working with AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open system ARchitecture), the international, standardized software framework for smart mobility, to develop a system health management functionality for vehicle systems. The objective of system health management is to monitor the state of the system as a whole and react in an optimal way if certain vehicle functionalities fail, for example. In this context, the researchers have been able to take results and lessons learned from previous projects in relation to increased software-based reliability, and implement them directly in the standard and consequently in industry practice as well. This is how system health management found its way into the standard with the latest AUTOSAR R20-11 release early this year.
These examples show that as an applied, interdisciplinary platform, the LZSiS brings research and industry partners together in a systematic way — right across sectors and research fields. By building these links between research and industry, the LZSiS initiative is helping to boost Munich’s position as a hub for systems and for safety and security. As such, it is making a major contribution to retaining and expanding jobs in the region in the long term, and to raising its visibility at a national and international level.