The Babel Tower of the so many different approaches to embedded systems safety is now under attack - at least for the transportation domains including avionics, railway and automotive.

On Monday 3rd to Thursday 6th of October, the Kick-Off Meeting of the FP7 European project OPENCOSS (IP – large scale integrating project) took place at a comfortable conference facility in Bilbao, hosted by TECNALIA's ICT-European Software Institute Division (Spain). The meeting ran for four days, packed with a full schedule of technical and management meetings.

About 40 researchers and practitioners representing 17 European organizations from 9 countries met during the kick off to map out the strategic directions of the project and set up the work plan for the following three and half years. Throughout the meeting, all partners gave presentations about their core areas of competence and current initiatives related to OPENCOSS.

The project consortium includes major manufacturers of transportation systems (ALSTOM, FIAT, and THALES), certification organizations (DNV and RINA), consulting firms and solution providers (Intecs, IKV, ATEGO, AdaCore, Altreonic, and Parasoft), research institutes (TECNALIA and SIMULA), and universities (University of York and Technical University of Eindhoven). The OPENCOSS project coordinator is TECNALIA and the named Project Manager is Dr. Huascar Espinoza from the ICT-European Software Institute Division.

All these organizations have joined forces to meet one common objective: reduce certification costs and time while maintaining the highest safety standards.

The existing certification processes are going to be dissected and analysed in depth, and commonalities across domains will be identified. A Common Certification Language (CCL) will be defined thus paving the way for certification across transportation domains with only “delta” efforts.

Re-thinking the certification process will allow the stakeholders to minimize rework and to adopt incremental certification running in parallel with the development process. Document-centric will be largely replaced by model-centric certification. Certification costs will be reduced and become more predictable. Subjectivity shall also be reduced by using specific tool support, thus increasing accuracy and auditability. Open-source certification platforms will be set up for a faster and more transparent adoption.

Admittedly, the objectives are ambitious and achieving success will require overcoming a number of roadblocks including, among others, different cultures, different applications domains, consolidated interests in the certification business itself, but the project partners are willing to accept and face the challenge head on.

OPENCOSS has been financed by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission with a contribution of about 8.4 million Euros for the tenure of the 42-months project (starting date: October 1, 2011).

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