Advances in Automotive System Modeling: EAST-ADL (Part 1)

May 16, 2013 // By DeJiu Chen, KTH; Lei Feng, Volvo; Henrik Lönn, Volvo; Juha-Pekka Tolvanen, MetaCase
For decades developers of automotive embedded systems have enjoyed the benefits of modeling. Models have not only served communication and gaining better understanding but are also used to prototype, analyze, simulate and test the developed systems. With dedicated generators it has also been possible to produce production-quality software code from the models. Typical cases of code generation are various control-engineering solutions and infotainment systems with HMIs.

Today, the number of critical and advanced functions has grown significantly. Demands on efficiency and correctness in development, together with the heterogeneity of involved engineering disciplines and technologies, necessitate updating the modeling approaches. Models can address an automotive embedded system in different levels of abstraction typically ranging from consumer visible features, to functional architectures, hardware architectures, software components and finally to detailed implementation. Since multiple stakeholders are involved and have different concerns, models may also address various system aspects, such as requirements, timing and functional safety constraints, resource optimization schemes, etc. Moreover, as the development is normally distributed over several organizations, multiple engineers should also be able to work concurrently while linking with and sharing others designs. To enable concurrent development, faster feedback loop and collaboration, it does not make sense to keep a model like a single diagram editable only for one person at the time.

In regard to system development lifecycle, this means that models are not applied only at the bottom parts of the V-model but also for early level system planning and design phases. A well defined integration of these models allows developers to automate the information and work management and to conduct effective decision-making while avoiding costly faults and delays. In particular, a model-based approach constitutes an important basis for safety engineering, for which a variety of system assumptions and design solutions need to be taken into consideration, such as prescribed by the emerging standard for functional safety of road vehicles, ISO26262.

Figure 1. Applying modeling in V-Model

From modeling a single feature to modeling whole architecture

EAST-ADL is a domain-specific language for the specification and analysis of embedded systems. It aims to address the needs of model-based development of industrial scale automotive embedded systems, which are often time- and safety-critical. The language is domain-specific as the fundamental modeling concepts are based on domain concepts and on some key industrial standards for vehicular embedded systems.

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