Systematic integration for aerospace

In this high-profile R&D project, IncQuery Labs collaborated with aerospace industry leader Embraer, and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics on a groundbreaking domain integration approach for systematic, modular, yet holistic aircraft design.

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The Client

Embraer is one of the largest aerospace companies in the world with over 50 years of experience in the field of aircraft design, development, and manufacturing. They offer integrated solutions and systems for the commercial and executive aviation markets, as well as for the defense and security industries.

Our professional relationship started in 2014, in the context of a joint project with the participation of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). The goal of the project was to develop a toolchain for virtual aircraft digital twin design. The main aim of the collaboration was to automate inner processes with the purpose of reducing time-to-market, effort, and, therefore, costs.

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Avionics is a field where software engineers work with safety-critical systems (SCS), making software development and integration exceedingly difficult. It requires familiarity with industry standards and methodologies, as well as industry-specific concepts and tools. Working with Embraer, we needed to have an understanding of the Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) concept, I.e., to have an architecture coordinating multiple services on the same platform and decoupling the applications from the execution hardware.

Our responsibility in this project was to accelerate Embrace’s IMA hardware-software allocation process for a Matlab Simulink based iterative design, refinement and analysis toolchain.

Matlab Simulink is one of the most widely used modeling frameworks for embedded and safety-critical system development. However, using Matlab Simulink and Java-based tools together used to be a cumbersome task - especially, when the goal is model-level integration.

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In this joint project, Embraer brought in the necessary domain knowledge along with the necessary industrial background. BME was responsible for vital R&D activities in  allocation automation. Last, but not least, IncQuery Labs provided its expertise on toolchain integration and technology transfer through applied research.  

We have developed a systematic domain integration approach that not only facilitates the integration of various simulation models captured in Matlab Simulink, but also supports a built-in traceability mechanism, crucial in any avionics development process. IncQuery Labs has also built several custom modules for the complete toolchain. These include a live model validation framework, a custom graphical front-end, and an automated consequence analysis framework.

One of the most significant results of this project is the development of Massif, a novel, open-source Eclipse-Simulink integration feature built using a model-based systems engineering (MBSE) methodology. It is an open-source success that has been utilized by more than 20 international companies ever since for projects beyond this joint venture.

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