Towards automation of control software: A review of challenges in mechatronic design

A.A. Alvarez Cabrera, M.J. Foeken, O.A. Tekin, Krijn Woestenenk, M.S. Erden, B. de Schutter, M.J.L. Tooren, R. Babuska, Frederikus J.A.M. van Houten, T. Tomiyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Development of mechatronic systems requires collaboration among experts from different design domains. In this paper the authors identify a set of challenges related to the design of mechatronic systems. The challenges are mostly related to integration of design and analysis tools, and automation of current design practices. Addressing these challenges enables the adoption of a concurrent development approach in which the synergetic effects that characterize mechatronic systems are taken into account during design. The main argument is that in order to deal with software development problems for complex mechatronic systems, there is a need to look at system design practices beyond concurrency, i.e., there is a need to consider the complex interdependencies among subsystems and the designers that develop them. A review on current methods and tools is carried out to identify possible solutions proposed in previous works. The purpose is not to make an extensive review, but to show that integration, from different points of view, is a major issue and that increasing the level of abstraction in the description of systems can help to overcome the integration challenges. An increased level of abstraction also forms a basis for addressing other issues in mechatronic product development, which are presented in this work. With that in mind, concepts for an integration framework are proposed. The goal of the framework is to support a multi-disciplinary design team to (almost) automatically generate and verify control software. Based on high-level architectural descriptions, the software generation and verification process can be supported by knowledge-based methods and tools. Other goals are to support communication among engineers, improve reliability of designs, increase reuse of design knowledge, and reduce development time and development costs.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)876-886
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • IR-80227
  • Function modeling
  • Design tools
  • Development challenges
  • METIS-267832
  • Integration
  • Control software generation
  • Mechatronics
  • Knowledge base
  • Design methods

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