Collaboration with the INTO-CPS Association will push for applications of UPSIM results within the context of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) for aligning approaches and bringing together interested partners.

With the large number of components and their inherent complexity, the development and maintenance of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) can become cumbersome and resource-consuming. To tackle this complexity, model-based systems design can be utilised, allowing individual components to be analysed and tested in simulation before deploying them in the real world. The Digital Twin (DT) is another important and well-established approach to manage the lifecycle of CPS. This lifecycle includes the design, development, and operational phases of CPS. To manage the complexity of these DT, research has been conducted to create and manage Digital Twins using composable assets. These composable assets can be operational data, DT models expressed as Functional Mockup Units (FMUs), and functional blocks. The toolchains used for the management of the lifecycle of CPS must be interoperable. The interoperability requirements allow developers to create CPS models and DT assets using the “test before invest” model and ensure tool vendor independence. In addition, interoperability facilitates the expansion of stakeholders in CPS ecosystem.

The INTO-CPS association provides a collection of tools to support engineers during the development process of various CPS components, such as software controllers, mechanical parts, and electrical circuits. A core component of the INTO-CPS toolchain is a simulation environment that enables developers to test and analyse a set of components specified in different formalisms as a single system. For this, INTO-CPS facilitates an approach called co-simulation, allowing synchronisation and exchange of data among different models through the Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) standard. The INTO-CPS toolchain integrates tools that can create DT assets, put together DT assets to create a DT, and perform co-simulation of CPS on both desktop and cloud environments.

To this end, the INTO-CPS tool chain supports the multidisciplinary, collaborative modelling of CPS from requirements through design to realisation in hardware and software. This enables traceability at all stages of the development.

 Workflow to Create Digital Twins Using Co-Simulation of FMUs

Specifically, INTO-CPS provides all the necessary tools for this, such as:

    • Modelling the individual components, referred to as a Functional Mock-up Unit (FMU),
    • Formal model development tools that produce FMI-standard compliant FMUs,
    • Performing a co-simulation in different computing environments,
    • Evaluating the impact of different design decisions using design space exploration,
    • Validating and testing FMUs, and
    • Support both digital shadows and digital twins of CPS by coupling the simulation with real-life prototypes.

The INTO-CPS toolchain is expanded as part of the UPSIM project and utilised in the use cases to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of credible simulations in the development of novel systems.

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By Lukas Esterle and Peter Gorm Larsen, Aarhus University