As part of the successful Methods and Tools for On-Board Software Engineering (MTOBSE) project, Lero has provided software and consultancy services to ESA in three areas:
Future space missions to remote locations will require sophisticated levels of autonomy, due to long round-trip signal times. Lero researchers are leading the development of KnowLang, a formal language for the specification of advanced autonomous systems. KnowLang supports early detection and analysis of emergent behaviours and unexpected interactions between autonomy goals, thus helping engineers to ensure that requirements for on-board systems are correct at design time.
On-board software for space missions is typically subject to stringent safety standards. Lero researchers have assisted ESA with mathematical techniques to formally verify that software meets its specified requirements and is error-free. This software verification process can be applied in conjunction with an appropriate verified hardware platform, to ensure the correctness of entire on-board systems.
In aerospace domains, product variants are often needed to meet the demands of different markets and missions. As more variants are created, it can become increasingly difficult to handle software updates and improvements that need to be propagated across multiple products. In support of the Space Avionics Open Interface Architecture (SAVOIR) and Component Oriented Development Techniques (CORDET) initiatives, Lero has provided ESA with techniques for handling system families, or software product lines, systematically using interactive configuration tools, visualisations and model transformations.