Assurance of mixed integrity vetronics

Modern vehicles, in particular specialist vehicles (e.g. police, ambulance, fire and rescue), are increasingly complex systems that rely on vehicle electronics (vetronics) to provide essential capabilities. The electronic architecture of these vehicles consists of distributed subsystems of varying degree of integrity that are integrated using the vetronics infrastructure. Many of these subsystems are rapidly updated to address urgent needs. The integration of these subsystems often provides capabilities greater than the sum of the individual subsystems. Therefore, the complex and integrated vetronics architecture is a critical element of these vehicles. However, the safety and reliability certification of the distributed and integrated capabilities is becoming increasingly difficult. The traditional approach to vehicle design and development lacks in managing the increased complexity of the integrated architecture and the complexity of the safety justification.

Project aims

The aim of this research is to provide assurance that the development of mixed integrity complex vetronics will result in systems that are valid, certifiable and correctly meet their requirements.

The work considers the traditional development methodologies and draws on the knowledge and best practices of system assurance to offer a systematic approach to achieving justifiable confidence in the vetronics.

The research also takes into consideration both the design principles of openness, modularity, scalability and technology independence; and constraints such as standards, certification and acceptance.

Project findings and impact

The work has developed a Vetronics Assurance Framework (VAF) that consists of:

  • 3-dimentional integration reference model (vertical integration, horizontal integration and assurance integration)
  • guidelines and recommendations on the application of the reference model
  • guidelines on the application of safety analysis tools
  • guidelines on design principles to follow

Three case studies (vetronics integrity monitoring and management, multi-input SbW, and decoupled crew station) were used to evaluate the framework. The case studies implemented proof-of-concept demonstrators using various vetronics technologies. Lessons learnt from the case studies were used to tweak the framework.

The research outcome was fed into European research agencies and in turn has influenced open standards and architectures.