Embedded systems designed to achieve greater efficiency and dependability while cutting energy consumption
IK4-IKERLAN has coordinated the recently completed European MultiPARTES project
- Environments and tools to develop complex control systems that are demanding in terms of functional safety have been developed
- The project, which kicked off in September 2011, has had a budget of 3.6 million euros
The main aims of the European MultiPARTES project, led by IK4-IKERLAN and recently completed, were to drive forward R&D in the sphere of embedded systems to achieve greater efficiency, more functional safety, greater dependability and less effort in the certification process. This initiative, partly funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme, has been used to develop platforms capable to integrating various embedded control systems.
These systems are computer processors built into a whole host of objects used every day, such as cars or mobile phones. They are designed to carry out a specific function and are indispensable in strategic sectors like energy or transport.
The market is demanding increasingly complex products, and that is why embedded systems are indispensable as they provide products with more features. However, this growth in demand is coming up against technology limitations.
For example, any car may be equipped with between 70 and 100 embedded systems that control aspects like the functioning of the windscreen wipers, the GPS or so-called brake dependability. All these control systems are based on chips equipped with a single processor (known as mono-core ones). In other words, each of the systems uses an independent platform. The sum of all of them takes up a significant amount of space in the vehicle and together can weigh about 45 kg.
Multipartes has developed environments and tools to develop complex, control systems which are demanding in terms of functional safety. This way it has been possible to integrate various systems into a single multi-core platform, in other words, ones that have various processing cores. This enables their weight, the space they take up, the cost of the hardware and energy consumption, which could be cut by as much as 25 %, to be considerably reduced.
This platform is capable of integrating various embedded control systems with various degrees of criticality. In other words, they have functions that are critical for the safety of people and objects and others that are not crucial in this respect. Continuing with the example of the car, the brakes and the windscreen wipers would be controlled from the same platform.
Another key aspect in this project has to do with the certification process. Integrating these subsystems with differing degrees of criticality into one and the same platform entails a major effort in the certification process, the simplifying of which is essential. The techniques developed within the framework of the project involve the speeding up of the certification process, an aspect that is central to safety systems.
The technological results have been evaluated in practical cases in the wind energy, video surveillance and air transport sectors.
The role of IK4-IKERLAN
In addition to coordinating the project, IK4-IKERLAN has contributed its capabilities in the sphere of embedded systems in which it is an international benchmark. The R&D centre has contributed towards determining what the requirements of the industry are in the matter of safety and dependability. It has also worked to develop the new multi-core hardware platform, custom designed for embedded systems with varying criticality requirements.
IK4-IKERLAN has also collaborated on the development of a new design methodology, which incorporates the tools needed to design and modify systems of this type into the development process (specifications, design, implantation and validation).
With a duration of 40 months, MultiPARTES has had a budget of 3.6 million euros, of which 2.8 million was provided through the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme.
In addition to IK4-IKERLAN, the following organisations have participated in this project: Universitat Politècnica de València, Technische Universität Wien (Austria), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, TRIALOG (France), Fentiss (Spain), Teletel (Greece), Visual Tools (Spain), and Alstom Renovables España (Spain).
“A source of opportunities”
“For IK4-IKERLAN, this project has been a source of opportunities. Besides making known our capabilities in the sphere of dependable embedded systems before highly significant players, knowledge that will enable us to offer our customers better products and services has been generated in MultiPARTES,” said Salvador Trujillo, head of the project at IK4-IKERLAN and its coordinator.
IK4-IKERLAN is a leading centre in technology transfer and in the contribution of competitive value to companies, thanks to its capacity to offer comprehensive solutions by combining various technological domains. This is possible due to its high degree of expertise in six major areas: embedded systems, power electronics, microtechnologies, energy efficiency and storage, mechatronics and advanced manufacturing.
Name: MultiPARTES (Multicores Partitioning for Trusted Embedded Systems)
Funding body: European Union
Contract number: 287702
Project leader: IK4-IKERLAN