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Cyber Physical Systems for Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CPS4EU (Cyber Physical Systems for Europe)

Reporting period: 2021-07-01 to 2022-09-30

In recent years, Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) technologies have become a game changer in strategic sectors such as Automotive, Energy and Industry Automation, where Europe is a world leader. In fact, CPS is a key driver for the innovation capacity of European industries, large and small, generating economic growth and supporting meaningful jobs for citizens. CPS4EU aims to arm Europe with extensive value chain across key sectors by:
1. Strengthening CPS Technology providers, mainly European SMEs, to increase their market share and their competitiveness to become world leaders
2. Improve design efficiency and productivity and enable secure certification
3. Enabling the creation of innovative European CPS products that will strengthen the leadership and competitiveness of Europe by both large groups and SMEs
4. Large Dissemination of CPS technologies.

From a global point of view, the Project Committee evaluates that the project objectives are globally met.
The mindset of the project development was fully oriented towards an operational eco-system, with partners working together in a networked way. The workforce involved in CPS4EU represented 140 people working together during 3,25 years. As shown in the presentation at the EFECS conference in Brussels on May 4th, 2022, we strongly believe after the experience of CPS4EU that networked eco-systems brings more global efficiency and resilience than vertical organizations.

Even if the concept of Pre-Integrated Architecture took about a year to be clarified, it became the cornerstone of the project for the development of the use cases. Even if the concept of modules, platforms or design patterns is not new, all the use cases are convinced that the PIARCHs bring an efficiency boost, for a moderate additional investment. The motto of the project “CPS4EU: better Cyber-Physical Systems, in half the time” summarizes the main benefits demonstrated during the project.

Those PIARCHs are also a way to reduce the entry ticket for SMEs to expand their product portfolio with proven and reliable equipments. We found also how the engineering tools become more and more complex, and how they play an important role when they are integrated in the PIARCH assets.

Using the project KPIs as a measure of how the project results match with the initial objectives, partners confirm that most of the targets have been reached, from technical and from business point of views. 81% of the technology providers decided to push a new product developed in CPS4EU on the market. The partners evaluate from 20% to 90% of CPS design time reduction thanks to usage of the PIARCHs in CPS4EU.
The project has followed a typical development process from specifications, development of tools, prototyping, integration in use cases demonstrators and functionnal validation.

Concerning the objective of integrating 4 key enabling technologies as PIARCHs, we quickly integrated a 5th PIARCH as Industrial Edge Computing Gateway. New and complex CPS have been developed using at least one of Tthese PIARCHs. In our guidelines, PIARCHs must be not too large nor too small, keep some flexibility in order to maximize the possibilities of re-use, and also offer possibility to re-use legacy components and software.

For the components, even if the initial contract was to use 8 building blocks, we ended up with a total of 12. The additional components are: human-machine interfaces, actuators, cloud platforms and digital twins. These components were needed so that the use cases can find practical applications.

Most of the the use cases developed in CPS4EU have started at TRL 4-6 and have passed their validation tests corresponding to TRL6-8. Some of them are very close to commercial applications, and represent significative improvements vs existing applications. Only one use case which started at a low TRL with a high level of complexity was significantly adjusted and lead to a partial result.

About the project shortcomings, the interoperability of the tools has not reached the targeted level. Our starting point was almost zero inter-operability between the tools proposed by the different laboratories or commercial companies. The SMEs and large companies coming from different industrial domains also had different tools with different data collection processes, with different data transfer protocols, corresponding to different standards. We ended up having a classification of four families of tools with a reasonable level of inter-operability within those families. But this question could be elevated to a higher level within the ECS community, a would be worth an inter-domain project just by itself.
From a general perspective, the Components, the Tools and the PIARCHs developed in CPS4EU are at the State of the Art. Most of them target embedded applications with low to medium range computing (up to few tens of TOPS) performance. We believe that CPS4EU advances beyond the State of the Art will take place at the integration level, with its PIARCH paradigm reducing the effort necessary to develop complex Cyber-Physical Systems. On top of the new PIARCH approach, it appears that this PIARCH paradigm will also enable the future addition of new non-functional features like cybersecurity, privacy, traceability of licenses and IP rights, tracking of CO2 footprint, product configurator, which are needed by the new digitized markets.

CPS4EU is a mean to ensure a comprehensive CPS ecosystem in Europe by supporting, with the help of research institutions, both CPS technology providers and CPS integrators, thus leading to a sovereign European CPS procurement chain.

The main impact for technology providers lays on the ability to create new products or allow the refurbishment the existing ones into new generation products, taking full advantage of advanced concepts and high-end electronic components offered by the CPS4EU project. The concept of pre-integrated architecture is iconic of this guiding line of CPS4EU, which directly reflects on the expected revenues coming from the new/evolved product sales.

The expected impact for large groups and SMEs may be measured by new products, at the state of the art, or improved generation of existing products developed in CPS4EU. Beyond their role of component and tool providers, another business impact was ‘discovered’ for SMEs during the second year of the project. The SMEs willing to enter in new markets can benefit from the usage of PIARCHs to enable a fast market penetration with state-of-the-art CPS, with reasonable development efforts.

Of course, a large system (autonomous vehicle, industrial operation, or energy distribution) results of a large number of innovations and even if CPS4EU will be a large contributor in the addressed markets, it will not be the only source of innovation. The expected impact for large groups needs then to be evaluated using more adapted criteria than simple financial ROI. In CPS4EU 5 criteria have been used by industrial partners. These are:
- Strengthening of the value chain: this is the main objective of the project and it should benefit to all large enterprises contributing to CPS4EU
- Acceleration of the time to market for new products
- Reducing design cost and overall Research and Design and Development effort
- Better qualification/ certification/ control
- Direct increase of sales, and opportunities to reach new markets
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