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.


Scientific Director

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

An Approach for Safety Assessment for Highly Automated Systems Applied to a Maritime Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System

Sebastian Vander Maelen, Matthias Büker, Birte Kramer, Eckard Böde, Sebastian Gerwinn, Georg Hake, Axel Hahn; 2019 4th International Conference on System Reliability and Safety (ICSRS); 2019

Functional Test Environment for Time-Triggered Control Systems in Complex MPSoCs

Razi Seyyedi, Sören Schreiner, Maher Fakih, Kim Grüttner andWolfgang Nebel; Microprocessors and Microsystems; 2020

Measurement-based Online Verification of Timing Properties in Distributed Systems

Günter Ehmen and Björn Koopmann and Yosab Bebawy and Philipp Ittershagen; Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE International Conference on Omni-layer Intelligent Systems (COINS'20); 009 / 2020

Incremental Contract-based Verification of Software Updates for Safety-Critical Cyber-Physical Systems

Yosab Bebawy, Houssem Guissouma, Sebastian Vander Maelen, Janis Kröger, Georg Hake, Ingo Stierand, Martin Fränzle, Eric Sax, Axel Hahn; The 2020 International Conference on Computational Science and Computational Intelligence (CSCI'20); 12 / 2020

Towards Recertification of Modular Updates in Integrated Maritime Systems of Systems

Hake, Georg and Feuerstack, Sebastian and Hahn, Axel; Computer Safety, Reliability, and Security; 2020

Maintaining safety requirements of updated maritime surveillance systems

Georg Hake, Sebastian Vander Maelen, Axel Hahn; IFAC-PapersOnLine; 0November / 2021

Extension of Contracts for Variability Modeling and Incremental Update Checks of Cyber Physical Systems

Houssem Guissouma, Janis Kröger, Sebastian Vander Maelen, Eric Sax; 2021 IEEE International Symposium on Systems Engineering (ISSE). Hrsg.: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE; 009 / 2021

Project Overview for Step-Up!CPS - Process, Methods and Technologies for Updating Safety-critical Cyber-physical Systems

Thomas Strathmann,Georg Hake, Houssem Guissouma; Carl Philipp Hohl, Yosab Bebawy, Sebastian Vander Maelen, Andrew Koerner; 2021 Design, Automation Test in Europe Conference Exhibition (DATE); 007 / 2021

Continuous Contract Based Verification of Updates in Maritime Shipboard Equipment

Hake, Georg and Hohl, Carl Philipp and Hahn, Axel; Journal of Marine Science and Engineering; 0July / 2021

Towards Recertification of Modular Updates in Integrated Maritime Systems of Systems

Hake, Georg and Feuerstack, Sebastian and Hahn, Axel; Computer Safety, Reliability, and Security; 2020

Handling of Operating Modes in Contract-based Timing Specifications

Janis Kröger and Björn Koopmann and Ingo Stierand and Nadra Tabassam and Martin Fränzle; Proceedings of the 15th International Verification and Evaluation of Computer and Communication Systems (VECoS'21); 11 / 2021

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


Start: 01.10.2018
End: 30.09.2021

Source of funding

Related projects


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