Architecture and Technology Development Platform for Realtime Safe and Secure Systems

With the eNavigation initiative of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) the maritime world has long embarked on this voyage. Safer shipping, better protection of the environment and huge cost benefits in maritime transport are the promises and hopes. And indeed, politics and industry of the major shipping nations expect huge improvements through the participation in this undertaking. But it comes at a price! Global maritime connectivity surely requires an in-depth review of all current maritime practices: of legal and commercial regimes; responsibilities, liabilities and insurances; and, foremost of it all, it requires a complete re-thinking of the engineering processes for the design, integration and testing of maritime systems.

In the classical engineering approach, a system has a dedicated system boundary and comprises of connected elements which interact with each other as well as with elements beyond the system boundary. The elements themselves are regarded as black boxes. The emergent behavior of the system is defined by the behavior of its elements and their organization.

In the world of eNavigation however, system boundaries become permeable and time-variable, subject to actively participating stakeholders and processes. In such a dynamic SoS there is no central operations center, executing SoS-wide monitoring and control. Functional boundaries of operating software are no longer identical with hardware boundaries of computers and boxes. Engineers are therefore no longer in control of all functional elements in such a SoS. Failures and deficiencies occurring in a local sub-system may cause huge consequential damages in every other corner of the SoS.

How ACTRESS Faces these Challenges

The BMWI-funded Architecture and Technology Development Platform for Real-Time Safe and Secure Systems (ACTRESS) is the starting point of this re-thinking of the engineering process. Partners from academia (OFFIS, Fraunhofer FKIE), industry (ATLAS Elektronik, Raytheon Anschütz, AVL Software and Functions), classification societies (DNV GL) and governmental authorities (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie) have set up a partnership to look at these engineering challenges from all relevant perspectives. Within ACTRESS they will develop and provide new methods for verification and validation of complex highly-automated cyber-physical SoS. These methods will cover

  • New architectures for safe and secure maritime SoS
  • Approaches for simulation and physical based testing of highly-automated maritime SoS
  • Approaches for security validation of connected maritime SoS

In additional to this theoretical background ACTRESS will provide a technology development platform, which can be used by stakeholder such as technology providers to develop, verify and validate their new maritime SoS-technologies. This technology development platform will provide

  • A simulation-based environment for full virtual engineering
  • A simulation-based environment for verification and validation (V&V-Lab)
  • A physical mobile platform providing sensors, network and bridge systems to be brought on research vessels and boats for verification and validation of new technologies in their later operational environment
  • An in-situ platform providing sensor stations at the coastline for covering land-based aspects for maritime SoS

ACTRESS will provide the foundation for future maritime SoS-engineering and also for the education of future engineers in this sector. ACTRESS will support the transfer of these new foundations into future certification and classification processes as well as into new standards and regulations for future maritime SoS.

ACTRESS methodologies, technologies and approaches will be verified within three use cases:

  • On Board Cyber-Security
  • Accident and emergency /SAR technologies
  • Simulation based certification of ships designed as an integrated system of system


To support the development of future maritime SoS ACTRESS will analyze the development process of such systems and develop new methods for maritime SoS engineering in the several development steps. ACTRESS will especially focus on the following to main aspects:

Architectural concepts

Safe and secure cyber-physical SoS need a solid foundation – its architecture – to provide safety and security already by the design of the SoS itself. Therefore, ACTRESS will develop new architectural concepts for SoS engineering that will cover several aspects of safety and security. The main goal of these concepts will be an increasing resilience against cyber-attacks for ensuring safety of the SoS.

Verification and Validation Methods

Besides the architectural concepts, which cover the design time of a SoS the verification and validation methods focus on the assurance that the design follows its specification and behaves correctly with respect to its later operational environment.


The simulation environment base on a Co-simulation already includes a maritime traffic simulation, sensor data simulation and an environment simulation. These simulators will be expanded by a simulator for underwater and airborne operations.


The shore-based researches are carried out in a laboratory environment to develop verification and validation procedures. Data obtained in In Situ platform and the Co-Simulation are integrated to cover scenarios with ship system and System of Systems.

In Situ Platform

In ACTRESS a test track in the German bay in the triangle of Helgoland, Wangerooge and Cuxhaven is built to carry out experiments and to try out new technologies. The test track is monitored with specific sensors like Radar, AIS and video, the obtained data can be transmitted by a communication infrastructure.

Mobile Platform und Sensors

For the test at sea coverage a mobile platform is constructed to provide an addition test infrastructure that can be installed aboard ship. The mobile platform can be used as a complete bridge to run assistance system tests. Additionally, a multi-sensor platform (MODAR system) is installed aboard ship to incorporate optical measurement data.


Open Platform Concept in eMIR

All of the above infrastructure will be integrated into the e-Maritime Integrated Reference Platform (eMIR).
Via eMIR this infrastructure will be accessible by all interested parties. The platform is explicitly designed to
be used by other research projects, by industry but also authorities. Concrete usage requests can be
negotiated via OFFIS with the involved partners.


The ACTRESS Research Collaboration


Download the ACTRESS booklet

Download ACTRESS booklet