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Real Safety through Virtual Reality

In the project VIERforES – “Virtual and Extended Reality for highest safety and reliability of Embedded Systems” –scientists from the Fraunhofer institutes for Experimental Software Engineering IESE and for Factory Operation and Automation IFF together with the University of Kaiserslautern and Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg are developing clear and easy-to-understand virtual representations of highly complex technical parameters in embedded systems.

In this project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF, one of the researchers’ main goals is to make especially properties that are hard to visualize, such as safety and reliability, visible by using state-of-the-art virtual reality processes.

By doing this, they will make it significantly easier to develop systems in many high-tech areas. Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer, director at Fraunhofer IESE, summarizes what the project is expected to do: “Distributed embedded systems are often safety-critical and so complex at the same time that risks are hard to detect and appropriate countermeasures are hard to find. We want to support this through suitable VR technologies in order to make abstract properties tangible“.

Whereas the colleagues from Magdeburg will concentrate on the mechanical and electrotechnical system components, the software portions of embedded systems will be the focus of the partners from Kaiserslautern, who will also support the project with concrete usage scenarios, for example from the area of automotive technology. Prof. Karsten Berns from TU Kaiserslautern emphasizes the innovative approach: ”Thanks to the results from the project, comparing alternative product designs and detecting neuralgic points early on will be possible in the future by taking a few glances into ’cyberspace’“.

The fact that partners from western Germany will also take part in the project initiated in the context of the BMBF initiative “State-of-the-art research and innovation from the new states” is welcome in Kaiserslautern: “It is just that existing competencies complement each other optimally, and only this makes success possible“, says the Vice President for Research and Technology at TU Kaiserslautern, Prof. Burkard Hillebrands. In addition, the project could become the prototype for a successful Germany-wide research collaboration and thus sustainably strengthen Germany’s role as a global market leader in mechanical and plant engineering”, continues Hillebrands.

VIERforES is one of six projects funded by BMBF in the context of its initiative “State-of-the-art research and innovation from the new states”. Of the approx.7.5 million euros for the years 2008 – 2010, 2.5 million euros will go to the University of Kaiserslautern and Fraunhofer IESE in almost equal parts; the rest of the funds will go to Otto-von-Guericke University and to Fraunhofer IFF in Magdeburg.

Patrick Leibbrand | alfa
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