skip to main content

Title: Dronology: an incubator for cyber-physical systems research
Research in the area of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) is hampered by the lack of available project environments in which to explore open challenges and to propose and rigorously evaluate solutions. In this “New Ideas and Emerging Results” paper we introduce a CPS research incubator – based upon a system, and its associated project environment, for managing and coordinating the flight of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS). The research incubator provides a new community resource, making available diverse, high-quality project artifacts produced across multiple releases of a safety-critical CPS. It enables researchers to experiment with their own novel solutions within a fully-executable runtime environ- ment that supports both high-fidelity sUAS simulations as well as physical sUAS. Early collaborators from the software engineering community have shown broad and enthusiastic support for the project and its role as a research incubator, and have indicated their intention to leverage the environment to address their own research areas of goal modeling, runtime adaptation, safety-assurance, and software evolution.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1737496 1741781
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
40th International Conference on Software Engineering: New Ideas and Emerging Results Track
Page Range / eLocation ID:
109 to 112
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The growing adoption of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for tasks such as eCommerce, aerial surveillance, and environmental monitoring introduces the need for new safety mechanisms in an increasingly cluttered airspace. Safety assurance cases (SAC) provide a state-of-the-art solution for reasoning about system and software safety in numerous safety-critical domains. We propose a novel approach based on the idea of interlocking safety cases. The sUAS infrastructure safety case (iSAC) specifies assumptions and applies constraints upon the behavior of sUAS entering the airspace. Each sUAS then demonstrates compliance to the iSAC by presenting its own (partial) safety case (uSAC) which connects to the iSAC through a set of interlock points. To enforce a “trust but verify” policy, sUAS conformance is monitored at runtime while it is in the airspace and its behavior is described using a reputation model based on the iSAC’s expectations of its behavior. 
    more » « less
  2. Flight-time failures of small Uncrewed Aerial Systems (sUAS) can have a severe impact on people or the environment. Therefore, sUAS applications must be thoroughly evaluated and tested to ensure their adherence to specified requirements, and safe behavior under real-world conditions, such as poor weather, wireless interference, and satellite failure. However, current simulation environments for autonomous vehicles, including sUAS, provide limited support for validating their behavior in diverse environmental contexts and moreover, lack a test harness to facilitate structured testing based on system-level requirements. We address these shortcomings by eliciting and specifying requirements for an sUAS testing and simulation platform, and developing and deploying it. The constructed platform, DroneWorld (\DW), allows sUAS developers to define the operating context, configure multi-sUAS mission requirements, specify safety properties, and deploy their own custom sUAS applications in a high-fidelity 3D environment. The DroneWorld Monitoring system collects runtime data from sUAS and the environment, analyzes compliance with safety properties, and captures violations. We report on two case studies in which we used our platform prior to real-world sUAS deployments, in order to evaluate sUAS mission behavior in various environmental contexts. Furthermore, we conducted a study with developers and found that DroneWorld simplifies the process of specifying requirements-driven test scenarios and analyzing acceptance test results. 
    more » « less
  3. Many Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) have timing constraints that must be met by the cyber components (software and the network) to ensure safety. It is a tedious job to check if a CPS meets its timing requirement especially when they are distributed and the software and/or the underlying computing platforms are complex. Furthermore, the system design is brittle since a timing failure can still happen e.g., network failure, soft error bit flip, etc. In this paper, we propose a new design methodology called Plan B where timing constraints of the CPS are monitored at the runtime, and a proper backup routine is executed when a timing failure happens to ensure safety. We provide a model on how to express the desired timing behavior using a set of timing constructs in a C/C++ code and how to efficiently monitor them at the runtime. We showcase the effectiveness of our approach by conducting experiments on three case studies: 1) the full software stack for autonomous driving (Apollo), 2) a multi-agent system with 1/10th scale model robots, and 3) a quadrotor for search and rescue application. We show that the system remains safe and stable even when intentional faults are injected to cause a timing failure. We also demonstrate that the system can achieve graceful degradation when a less extreme timing failure happens. 
    more » « less
  4. With the proliferation of autonomous safety-critical cyber-physical systems (CPS) in our daily life, their security is becoming ever more important. Remote attestation is a powerful mechanism to enable remote verification of system integrity. While recent developments have made it possible to efficiently attest IoT operations, autonomous systems that are built on top of real-time cyber-physical control loops and execute missions independently present new unique challenges. In this paper, we formulate a new security property, Realtime Mission Execution Integrity (RMEI) to provide proof of correct and timely execution of the missions. While it is an attractive property, measuring it can incur prohibitive overhead for the real-time autonomous system. To tackle this challenge, we propose policy-based attestation of compartments to enable a trade-off between the level of details in measurement and runtime overhead. To further minimize the impact on real-time responsiveness, multiple techniques were developed to improve the performance, including customized software instrumentation and timing recovery through re-execution. We implemented a prototype of ARI and evaluated its performance on five CPS platforms. A user study involving 21 developers with different skill sets was conducted to understand the usability of our solution. 
    more » « less
  5. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming increasingly pervasive in everyday life, supporting diverse use cases such as aerial photography, delivery of goods, or disaster reconnaissance and management. UAVs are cyber-physical systems (CPS): they integrate computation (embedded software and control systems) with physical components (the UAVs flying in the physical world). UAVs in particular and CPS in general require monitoring capabilities to detect and possibly mitigate erroneous and safety-critical behavior at runtime. Existing monitoring approaches mostly do not adequately address UAV CPS characteristics such as the high number of dynamically instantiated components, the tight integration of elements, and the massive amounts of data that need to be processed. In this paper we report results of a case study on monitoring in UAVs. We discuss CPS-specific monitoring challenges and present a prototype we implemented by extending REMINDS, a framework for software monitoring so far mainly used in the domain of metallurgical plants. Additionally, we demonstrate the applicability and scalability of our approach by monitoring a real control and management system for UAVs in simulations with up to 30 drones flying in an urban area. 
    more » « less