Security for embedded systems

KIT coordinates new EU project XANDAR - "X-by-Construction" delivers standardized tool chain for software development and hardware-software integration

Autonomous vehicles and urban air mobility are among the applications of XANDAR. KIT's project partners include DLR and BMW. (Fig .: XANDAR)

Autonomous vehicles and urban air mobility are among the applications of XANDAR. KIT's project partners include DLR and BMW. (Fig .: XANDAR)

Software and hardware for networked embedded systems must meet the highest requirements in terms of security, real-time capability, and energy and resource efficiency. In the XANDAR project coordinated at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), eight partners from science and industry are developing a complete tool chain for software development and hardware-software integration for complex applications on future processor platforms, for example in autonomous vehicles and for future urban Air mobility concepts. The European Commission is funding the project with a total of around five million euros.

Most computers operate covertly - as embedded systems in many different applications, from automobiles to industrial machines and medical equipment to household appliances. In the case of networked, embedded systems for complex applications, future development depends heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The software not only has to fulfill special functions, it also has to meet so-called non-functional requirements, such as security, data protection, reliability, accuracy, real-time capability, and energy and resource efficiency. Autonomous vehicles and drones, for example, have to be protected against breakdowns as well as against unauthorized interference in order to protect people, machines and the environment from harm. 

Refinement step by step

"The parameters relevant to the non-functional requirements must be determined early in the software development process and consistently implemented in further system development," explains Professor Jürgen Becker, spokesman for the management team at the KIT Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV). The engineering scientist coordinates the new EU project XANDAR (X-by-Construction Design framework for Engineering Autonomous & Distributed Real-time Embedded Software Systems). In XANDAR, researchers work in a team with industrial developers to develop a complete toolchain for software development for networked embedded systems based on highly parallel hardware-software platforms with multi-core processors, for example for safety-critical applications in road traffic and in aviation. XANDAR proposes an innovative approach - X-by-Construction. This method is a step-by-step refinement process from specification to code that includes not only correct function, but also non-functional requirements. “We provide programmers and system developers with a standardized tool chain with which they can control automated hardware-software system integration according to all relevant criteria, especially at an early stage of the design process. With X-by-Construction we are establishing a new, integrated method that significantly improves quality, reduces risks and cuts costs, "explains Becker, 

Eight partners from all over Europe

XANDAR started in early 2021 and will run for three years. The European Commission is funding the project under the “Horizon 2020” framework program with a total of around five million euros. The project consortium includes eight universities, research institutions and companies from all over Europe; the KIT is the coordinator. At the ITIV of the KIT, scientists develop the core of the tool chain, which includes non-functional requirements in all steps of the proposed process - from the model-based design to the parallelization of tasks to the final code on the platform. Other partners are the University of the Peloponnese, AVN Innovative Technology Solutions Limited, Queen's University Belfast, Vector Informatik GmbH, fentISS, BMW and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) represented in the XANDAR project. (or) 

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