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Rembrandt is a project aiming at a common product model for requirements management and model-based development of embedded systems.
Partners are Scania AB, KTH and Chalmers.

Purpose and relevance of project in according to V-ICT

The project is closely related to all part areas mentioned for "Fordonselektronik" (6.1. FoU kring fordonselektronik) since all of them ultimately rely on adequate support for systems design and verification. The project explicitly addresses the complexity caused by the increased embedded systems context of vehicles, and focuses on requirements management and model-based development (MBD) as a basis for systems design and verification.

The objective is to make a major contribution to the development of next generation collaborative working environments for multidisciplinary (hardware and software) product development. The overall aim is to increase creativity, boost innovation and product development efficiency by developing methodology and demonstrators for requirement management (RM) and MBD.

The purpose of the project is to strengthen the way products are modeled and requirements written, structured and managed within the development of vehicle electrical/electronics (EE) at Scania CV. Requirements exist at all stages of system development, being refined and later satisfied by different technical solutions. In a model-based approach, some of the requirements may be expressed using formalized descriptions (for example in terms of executable simulation models).

Requirements will also be related to other models that describe system functions or technical solutions, satisfying these requirements, and to system testing. It is for example possible to derive test cases from formalized requirements. This project will contribute to parallel efforts and future projects to develop support tools and IT system support at Scania CV, enabling a shift from mechanical to mechatronic (mechanical, software and electronic) focus in product development.

Expected contributions are:

  • an understanding of how to specify and establish integrated tools for requirement,
  • increased knowledge about the needs and challenges for RM in EE development,
  • exploration of new integration concepts and technologies for a more effective requirement.

Current problems, addressed by research project

The requirement management process at Scania CV and other automotive companies is not adapted for development of electrical systems and systems where a major part of the functionality is performed by systems containing software, electronics and mechanics. Traceability, engineering change management and configuration management are complex information management processes that are difficult to manage within current IT systems (e.g. RM tools and PDM systems).

The present lack of structured requirements management is connected to several problems currently experienced at Scania CV in electronic product development e.g. that a lot of time is spent on re-work of a developed electrical function due to poor functional descriptions; and that one man year was spent on understanding the ECU (Vehicle computer) requirement when redesigning the ECU.

Effect Goals

The project will contribute with methodologies and demonstrators suitable for requirements management and integration of IT systems used in electronic development. This will lead to new IT development projects within Scania, based on the results derived from the demonstrator project and the methodology development. The development of new in vehicle embedded IT systems and telematic products will be facilitated and enabled by enhanced RM capabilities. Extended efforts in ongoing EE development projects at Scania CV will be made possible by this project. The project will also give support to Scania in the selection of an integrated tool environment to support EE development.

The project will be performed with three fulltime Scania employees and four researchers from KTH and Chalmers where two experienced PhD candidates and two senior researchers will participate. The project will contribute to academic exams of two PhD candidates.

Positioning to the state of the art (international perspective)

Problems of distributed collaboration are central to the effective management of the product lifecycle, particularly where heterogeneous technologies, tools and working practices are involved. The importance of these topics is highlighted in research studies, industrial problem formulations as well as in the current European 7th framework research program. PDM and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems traditionally have focused on hardware (mechanics, electronics). It is concluded that current support in PDM/PLM systems is focused on CAD, and that support in other areas such as EE is weak.

The usefulness of PLM systems for configuration management of mechatronic systems (functions, software and hardware), including interfaces to domain-specific tools such as Matlab/Simulink and software development environments, have been shown to be feasible given that the tools have open application programming interfaces and provide means to customize the information models. The use of models is well known in engineering as a way to reduce risks and provide cost-efficient development. For embedded systems however MBD is not yet fully mature. A key problem is that models/tools describing different aspects of a product are not well integrated. The project addresses this concern and the connection between requirements and models.

The path towards full MBD automotive mechatronic systems still possess several challenges, including the lack of information models for embedded systems, as well as harmonization, standardization and transformations among the variety of modelling languages.

A truly integrated PLM solution that is able to trace all types of requirements and solutions will not only ensure that every requirement is presented and verified, but also facilitate change management and configuration management processes3. In a study4 of introducing configuration management in automotive EE development, it is concluded that there are no first-time right solutions, but rather a continuous zigzagging in order to find working solutions. Especially in the EE development, where the amount of functions and requirements has increased heavily, support for efficient ways of information management is needed. There are major challenges with respect to theory and industrial practice, including the achievement of:

  • an understanding of the industrial requirements for collaborative development in the area,
  • an understanding of prerequisites for efficient usage of tolls among product developers,
  • a shared terminology for interdisciplinary product development,
  • a clear understanding of what PLM functions can be generalized across businesses and what function that need to be adapted to the business context,
  • a coherent theoretical basis for generic product information models and process models,
  • proof of concept prototypes implemented in industrial settings,
  • usability of the tools supporting the holistic approach.

Project plan and deliverables

The activities are performed in cooperation between involved parties are:

  • mapped information flow throughout different stages of the EE development,
  • definition of a common level of abstraction for requirements in EE development,
  • definition of user prerequisites for efficient application of tools,
  • definition of how requirements relate to design and verification/validation documents and models and activities (thus forming a basis for a systems information and process model),
  • refinement and adaptation of the requirement structure for EE development,
  • Identification of key organisational roles associated with different types of EE requirements,
  • development of strategies for managing requirements as models (MBD),
  • defined success criteria for the performance of RM in EE and software development.

The demonstrator will be based on commercial tools and the demonstrator will show how these tools can work together to create integrated tools for RM and MBD capable of:

  • managing high and low level requirements,
  • tracing functional relationships,
  • interdisciplinary change, and configuration management,
  • management of models used in EE development,
  • integration with other IT systems and tools used in EE development.

Project home page (KTH)

Rembrandt KTH home

Contact for information

Project coordinator:
Ulf Sellgren
Tel: +46 - (0)8 7907387

Embedded systems:
Martin Törngren
Tel: +46 - (0)8 7906307

Integrated product development:
Diana Malvius
Tel.: +46 - (0)8 7907806

Belongs to: Engineering Design
Last changed: Jun 10, 2020
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