Elancourt, France and Cheltenham, UK: The European Union’s three-year INTERESTED (Interoperable Embedded Systems Tool Chain for Enhanced Rapid Design, Prototyping and Code Generation) project, funded under the 7th Framework Programme, concluded with the creation of an integrated and open reference tool chain for complex safety and mission-critical embedded systems and software development.
The tool chain assimilates tools from leading European embedded tool vendors into three distinct design domains: system and software design, networking and execution platform, and timing and code analysis. With this development, project leaders said they met their goal of significantly reducing the cost and improving the quality and time-to-market of safety-critical embedded systems.
European embedded tool vendors participating in the INTERESTED consortium were AbsInt Angewandte Informatik (Germany), Atego (UK), Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux énergies alternatives (France), Esterel Technologies (France), Evidence (Italy), Symtavision (Germany), Sysgo (Germany) and TTTech Computertechnik (Austria).
As an ongoing part of the INTERESTED project, the reference tool chain has also been evaluated and validated by several major European embedded tool users on practical applications against real-world design interoperability and cost-reduction requirements. These industrial partners all reported significant productivity improvements.
Airbus Operations S.A.S estimated that its use of the INTERESTED tool chain resulted in a 48% reduction in overall project effort. This was due mainly to the benefits derived from implementing model-driven processes and automatic code generation, coupled with the ability to guarantee consistency of data exchanged between systems and software teams, to reduce integration and rework time and effort.
Thales reported that the rigour imposed by the use of model-driven tools compared to freeform alternatives resulted in a 25% reduction in overall project effort, a 10% reduction in the time spent on modelling, and a 25% reduction in the number of remarks raised by design reviewers.
Siemens Mobility lowered overall projects costs by 20%, but remarked that the INTERESTED tool chain would have reduced them by up to 52% if all of the tools and techniques weren’t new to its process.
Focusing on overall development effort, the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives estimated that, with advanced familiarity of the tools, initial costs dropped by approximately 40% to 69% for on-going maintenance costs.
Magneti Marelli stated that, with 70% of rework relating to changes or issues in the architecture design, a time savings of at least 50% was possible by applying the INTERESTED tool chain. Adopting a model-based design architecture, together with systematic timing analysis, saved one person-year in terms of effort when verifying functionality and responding to change requests.