ACTRESS Architecture and Testbed for Realtime Safe and Secure Systems


Systems competence and systems capability is an important competitive factor for the German maritime industry. System complexity and cyber security are particular challenges. In addition to methodological competence, suitable test and trial facilities are required along the product development process.

Maritime technologies are increasingly being determined by reconfiguring networked systems that are merging to form system networks. This is illustrated by the scenario of ATL generating a situation picture in the event of an accident involving a container ship south of Helgoland: an unknown number of containers goes overboard. After the evaluation of initial situation information, autonomous underwater and surface units are sent off by air. These units coordinate themselves independently and send their findings via communication buoy ashore to create an integrated real-time situation picture to coordinate the SAR mission. This means that a whole range of individual systems are involved in this scenario: (1) Aircraft for loading the autonomous water units, (2) autonomous underwater and surface units, (3) communication systems (buoy and shore station), (4) situation centre on land and (5) the ships for the actual later SAR mission. Securing the properties of such systems requires extensive test environments.

However, the networking of maritime systems also harbours other dangers. For open system architectures with new attack possibilities, questions of IT security are of particular importance. This is shown by the scenario of RAY, AVL and DGL of a failure of all IT systems on the bridge and in the engine room of a seagoing vessel during the cruise on the Elbe. This is a multi-vectorial attack on navigation and propulsion systems with the aim of an accident and thus blocking the waterway. In order to prevent this scenario, technologies are required for protection against system changes, detection of threats and strategies for their control or isolation.

Test fields are required to ensure the fulfilment of requirements (verification) and their validity (validation), in short V+V, of such dynamic system networks. One goal of the present project is therefore the development (OFF) of a maritime test field, paired with a disruptive top-down approach for the complete development of real-time capable safety-critical system networks. The test field enables testing under realistic conditions parallel to the development process.

The two scenarios mentioned above are complex systems and system networks or systems of systems (System of Systems - SoS) with high requirements regarding autonomy, cooperation, reliability and security. Innovative system and security architectures (RAY, FKIE) allow the design of reliable SoS hardened against attacks. A networked system network requires modular and dynamically reconfigurable, updatable and expandable architectures that allow subsystems, functions and components to be adapted to new conditions, updated or removed from the current system configuration without compromising system security, even after the technology carrier has been put into operation. In addition to new types of architectures for system design, new types of solution approaches such as learning methods from the field of artificial intelligence are used today for function implementation. They require new V+V methods. SoS also have e.g. emergent behaviour which must be taken into account. Thus, a methodological framework is required for both virtual test fields for validation during the concept phase and physical test fields for in-situ testing.


In ACTRESS a physical test field for the testing, verification, validation and demonstration of maritime SoS, new architectural concepts for maritime SoS, especially considering aspects like safety and security-by-design and new methods for the simulative and physical V+V of maritime SoS will be developed and established.


Formal methods for verification and validation, simulation-based verification and validation, artificial intelligence, test fields.


External Leader

Arnold Akkermann

Scientific Director

Anschütz GmbH
AVL Software and Functions GmbH
Atlas Elektronik
Fraunhofer FKIE
Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie


Start: 01.09.2017
End: 31.12.2020