Cyber-physical systems (CPS) combine physical and embedded information processing components such that the resulting system has novel capabilities that could not be achieved by either the physical or the computational entity alone. In order to address this challenge, the System Analysis and Modeling Group at the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) has established a laboratory where cyber-physical systems can be studied for research as well as teaching purposes. The basic example for a cyber-physical system studied in the laboratory are autonomous vehicles, which need to interact with there environment in real-time, being able to cooperate in a coordinate fashion to solve a complex overall task, usually without a global coordinator. In the laboratory, a prototype system consisting of autonomous robots is employed to study the challenges of the model-driven development of CPS as a concrete instance for the more general case of autonomous vehicles.
The tight coupling of CPS enables new and more advanced solutions, e.g., the distance between autonomous vehicles (robots) could be reduced due to cooperation scenarios. However, the developers must provide dependability requirements even though the robots operate in a more interconnected way. Therefore, a development approach that completely separates the physical form the cyber world (information processing and networking) is no longer sufficient.
For the evaluation of our research activities, we use our CPSLab robot laboratory.