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What is CPS?

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) represent a bold new generation of systems that integrate computing and communication capabilities with the dynamics of physical and engineered systems.  This project is supported by National Science Foundation Program on Cyber Physical Systems and involves faculty, staff, and students from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (www.ece.osu.edu), the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (www.cse.osu.edu) and the Ohio Supercomputer Center (www.osc.edu).

The OSU Autonomous Urban Driving Project:

This project addresses two CPS themes: “Foundations” and “Methods and Tools.”  The second theme is the primary focus, with particular attention to “algorithms for reasoning about, and formally verifying properties of, complex integrations of cyber and physical resources” as well as “methods and tools [that] enable new forms of analysis, testing, and validation of integrated discrete and continuous dynamics at multiple temporal and spatial scales and different levels of resolution.”  The proposed work on foundations involves “promising new theories … inspired by specific application contexts, leading to new abstractions and general solutions, which in turn will be applicable to problems in multiple domains.”
The specific application context driving our research is autonomous vehicles operating safely in mixed-traffic urban environments (e.g., in a city such as Columbus or even New York or Istanbul; Figure 1a).  Such a car will be in a world where it interacts with other cars, humans, other external effects, and internal and external software modules.  This is a prototypical CPS with which we have considerable experience over many years, including participation in the recent DARPA Urban Challenge.  Even in the latter case, though, operation to date has been restricted to relatively “clean” environments (such as multi-lane highways and simpler intersections with a few other vehicles; Figure 1b).

  The real situationThe idealized model
Figure 1: (a) The real situation, (b) The idealized model.)

All work will be done within a defined design-and-verification cycle.  Theoretical advances and new models will be evaluated both by large-scale simulations, and by implemenation on laboratory robots and road-worthy vehicles driven in real-world situations.