A new design methodology, process and tool environment has been created under the four-year SPEEDS ('Speculative and exploratory design in systems engineering') project that is set to significantly enhance Europe's embedded systems industry. Designed for model-based, safety-critical systems, the product not only improves design quality but cuts down on time and cost. SPEEDS was funded more than EUR 9 million under the 'Information society technologies' (IST) Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). Today, a large proportion of mobile phones, cars, vending machines, medical equipment, cameras, household appliances and other products all operate as a result of an embedded system. These computer systems are usually a combination of both hardware and software, and are designed to perform a specific function. Thanks to the SPEEDS project, however, the look and feel of safety-critical embedded systems as well as the associated working practices will change, inspiring a new generation of end-to-end methodologies, processes and supporting tools. SPEEDS coordinator Gert Döhmen from Airbus Deutschland in Germany said the project provided 'the basis for the European embedded systems industry to evolve from model-based design of hardware and software systems towards the design and construction of integrated, component-based complete virtual system models'. The SPEEDS design methodology, process and tool environment will boost re-use, lessen integration time, reduce change processing time, and cut down on the number of significant design iterations. Overall, this means less development costs and development time for new safety-critical embedded systems. The project's multi-layered contract-based design and analysis methodology formalises the concept of 'assumptions' and 'promises' intrinsic in contracts. A new controlled speculative design process (developed under the project's 'process advisor toolset') allows for different architectures to be evaluated, accommodates design that meets the target the first time, and reduces the risk of concurrent design activities. Mr Döhmen said the project was a unique collaboration between embedded systems researchers, developers and design tool vendors, the result of which he believes 'will substantially improve the competitiveness of the European embedded systems industry' by marrying design competence with comprehensive technical insights and theoretical groundwork. The project, which concluded in April 2010, was represented by organisations active in the entire supply chain, such as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, and tool vendors, as well as leading European research institutions. SPEEDS partners included the German groups Airbus Deutschland, Daimler-Chrysler, Carmeq, Roberto Bosch, Extessy, and Kuratorium OFFIS; Austria's Magna Powertrain Engineering Center; the France-based groups Airbus France, Esterel Technologies, GEENSYS, as well as the Université Joseph Fourier - Verimag and the Institut national de recherche en informatique et automatique (INRIA); Hungary's Knorr-Bremse Fekrendszerek Kft; Sweden's SAAB AB; Israel Aerospace Industries and IBM Israel; the Italian group PARADES GEIE; and EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company).