Platforms4CPS (full title: Creating the CPS Vision, Strategy, Technology Building Blocks and Supporting Ecosystem for Future CPS Platforms) is a two years 'Coordination and Support' action in the area of Smart Cyber-Physical Systems which was officially launched in November 2016.

The project aims are to implement strategic actions for future CPS through roadmaps, impact multiplications and constituency building as well as support of Platforms in the area of CPS. The Platforms4CPS project is coordinated by Thales SA and implemented by 7 partners from 4 European countries (France, Germany, Sweden and UK).

Background:

Cyber-Physical Systems are seen as essential for the future. As the embedded world meets the Internet world there will be an increasing number of interacting systems with strong connectivity utilised in both society and industry. Platforms4CPS targets the transport, manufacturing, energy and health sectors. Europe is a world leader in the area of time-critical and safety-critical systems and to maintain this position there is a need to be able to design, develop and deploy highly distributed and connected digital technologies. Platforms4CPS thus aims to ‘create the vision, strategy, technology building blocks and supporting ecosystem for future CPS applications’ with three key objectives to:

  • Create a vision and strategy for future European CPS by analysing the ecosystem and market perspective and strategically updating and validating existing CPS roadmaps across multiple domains
  • Promote platform building, bringing together industry and academic experts and create a repository of CPS technology building blocks
  • Build an ecosystem by creating a constituency and through cooperating with ECSEL, ITEA, and ARTEMIS projects on the foundations of CPS engineering, and consensus-building on societal and legal issues related to the deployment of CPS

Platforms4CPS directly addresses the growing challenge of developing time- and safety-critical embedded and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and their integration into Systems of Systems. The key aim of Platforms4CPS is to ‘create the vision, strategy, technology building blocks and supporting developers and users for future CPS applications’. The domains being addressed by Platforms4CPS are 'Smart Transportation', 'Smart Manufacturing', 'Smart Energy', and 'Smart Health' etc. The integration of these different disciplines represents one of the main challenges of CPS. The key challenge for the future is to provide tools, technologies and platforms to design, programme and implement highly distributed and connected digital technologies.

The Platforms4CPS project has defined a number of key strategic actions to bring together leading CPS experts from academia and industry to collaborate on future CPS architectures and platforms, to:

  • Structure constituencies
  • Update and validate existing CPS roadmaps
  • Address the foundations of CPS Engineering and the Science of System Integration
  • Cooperate with other European programmes (ECSEL/ITEA/Artemis-IA/Big Data, 5G etc. PPPs)
  • Create a Platforms Forum called PlatForum for information exchange, identify Best Practices and create a repository of CPS technology blocks for industry and academic developers
  • Develop consensus on societal and legal issues related to the deployment of CPS

Technological: Traditional approaches using centralised control and superordinate management are becoming incapable of dealing with the complexity and variety of networked systems that are emerging. In the future new approaches will be needed, which are more flexible to allow the constituent systems of a CPS to collaborate, negotiate, and organise themselves. Platforms can support this management and also enable an evolution in systems engineering towards the science of systems integration.

Structural: Across Europe there is considerable expertise in the development of CPS but a fragmentation of initiatives and efforts. There is a need to bring European expertise together and create a critical mass of CPS developers, platform developers/providers and end users to provide an ecosystem with a common vision and strategy for the future. Going beyond this there is a need to encourage consensus building and cross-fertilisation across sectors to gain a multiplying effect. Supporting the vision there is a need for a clear picture of the market opportunities for European players and development needs.

Societal and legal: In addition to the need to encourage technical developments and collaboration it is also necessary to address barriers that exist to the successful deployment of future CPS within applications. These include issues such as privacy, security, contract law (e.g. SLAs), regulatory frameworks, liability, business models, societal dialogue, and digital inclusion/divide.

Platforms4CPS has the objective to address the most pressing technological challenges considering the foundations of CPS engineering as well as architectures and platforms. A holistic approach will be followed bringing together expertise from academia and industry on platforms, autonomous systems, modelling & simulation, smart sensors and sensor data fusion, wireless communications, e.g. 5G, big data, forecasting, human & machine awareness, resilience and fault tolerance.

Platforms4CPS will elaborate a market and ecosystem analysis, strategically update CPS roadmaps, perform a gap analysis and develop a strategy for future joint action. There is also a need for increased collaboration and awareness amongst practitioners in the community to avoid the results from past and ongoing projects being underexploited. Platforms4CPS has the objective to gather results, provide a repository of building blocks, and create a PlatForum to allow exchange of knowledge. Futhermore, Platforms4CPS would like to strengthen expertise and best practice as well as practical building blocks and tools to enable the effective exploitation of emerging CPS relevant technologies and approaches.

Platforms4CPS will engage with a wide and varied stakeholder group with the objective to build consensus, raise awareness and foster a dialogue with society on societal and legal issues related to the deployment of CPS. A key aim will be to provide authoritative and credible proposals on how to address barriers by gathering input from international leaders from academia, government and the private sector.

Platforms4CPS will mobilise an outstanding community of specialists across Europe – representatives of the ICT industries, European Technology Platforms (ETPs) and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), domain experts, end-users and policy makers to achieve the key objectives:

Create a vision and strategy and update CPS roadmaps

In order to create a vision and a strategy Platforms4CPS will analyse the CPS and Industrial IoT landscape to first identify and capture the technology building blocks (sensors, electronics, software, reference architectures, design paradigms, standards) that will contribute to future ‘horizontal‘ platforms for industrial applications. Then the aim is to investigate the vertical platforms, which are on offer from the automotive and manufacturing domains, e.g. AUTOSAR, RAMI, etc. and look for opportunities for transfer of technology/ideas to other domains, e.g. energy and health. Furthermore, a key aim will be to maximise the impact of the work for European companies. This will be backed up by activities which will update and validate existing CPS technology roadmaps, identifying technology gaps and making recommendations with respect to policy and technology development.

Promote Platform Building

Platforms are seen as key to the future of successful deployment of CPS. Platforms4CPS will thus promote platform building within Europe and ensure that these platforms are supported by creating an ecosystem of developers and users. Key platforms will be identified and leading CPS experts from academia and industry will be brought together to collaborate on future CPS architectures and platforms, create a repository of CPS technology blocks that can be used by academic and industry developers to address key problems, and identify and promote best practice. This will be disseminated via the PlatForum which will link to a repository of CPS technology blocks and act as an exchange platform for industry and academic developers.

Collaboration and building up the Ecosystem

The CPS community is wide and fragmented and there is a need to bring the key stakeholders of the community together. The development of CPS is hampered by a tendency to work in silos and a lack of visibility of RTD results in the area. Collaboration is essential to enable early adoption of technology and uptake in real products. There is much good work already going on in European programmes (ECSEL/ITEA/Artemis-IA/Big Data, 5G etc. PPPs) but there is an urgent need to structure the community to develop a pan-European constituency (that integrates companies into a strong network and speed up the process of open innovation in the area of CPS Engineering.

The results of Platforms4CPS will overall have strategic catalysing effects by:

  1. Bringing together previously separated stakeholders and communities including IoT, ICT and Communications/5G-future networking
  2. Identifying gaps and strategic directions with respect to - Platforms
    • Strategic research
    • Other innovation measures
  3. Contribute to constituency building and thus promoting longer term efforts and ecosystem building
  4. Gathering and disseminating technology blocks and platform best practices
  5. Steering initiatives and efforts towards the identified strategic directions including community building for strategic platforms