Step-Up!CPS Software Methods and Technologies for Modular Updates of Cyber-Physical Systems


 The installation of networked embedded systems in industrial and everyday products
establishes the connection between the physical and cyber worlds - Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are created.  In almost all branches of industry, CPS already perform safety-critical control functions in addition to comfort functions (e.g. for automated driving, the control of production plants, in energy networks or medical devices).  Due to the high damage potential in the event of malfunctions and the great complexity of this CPS, its modular update capability during operation - i.e. the updating of individual, even safety-critical functions with proven maintenance of the operational safety of the overall system - is of paramount importance.

In contrast to smartphones and PC operating systems, where regular updates are part of everyday life, updates of safety-critical CPS place significantly higher demands on the architectures of these systems and the security of their updates. New methods, technologies and processes are needed to prove that the updated systems are safe to operate.  At the same time, new methods and technologies are needed to master the enormous variety of variants and configurations for updates in the field.

Within Step-Up!CPS, cross-domain software methods, technologies and processes (TRL 3-4) for secure, modular CPS updates are researched, including the following aspects:

  • Hardware virtualization and services in a CPS middleware to perform the updates,
  • Characterisation of the functions to be integrated with regard to all potentially safety-relevant aspects and corresponding test concepts (e.g. resource requirements),
  • semantically secured safety and security mechanisms,
  • Mechanisms for runtime monitoring of operational safety (run-time monitoring)
  • Fail-operational mechanisms for redundant protection of updates.

The middleware and its services for Safety & Security are implemented as proof-of-concept and evaluated and demonstrated in the research infrastructures of the partners in three application areas (automotive, industry 4.0, maritime) on the basis of use cases.

Design and Analysis of an Online Update Approach for Embedded Microprocessors

Patrick Uven and Philipp Ittershagen and Kim Grüttner; The 6th International Embedded Systems Symposium; 2019

Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.


Start: 30.09.2018
End: 29.09.2021

Source of funding

Related projects


European Initiative to Enable Validation for Highly Automated Safe and Secure Systems