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Work Package Leadership for openETCS on Behalf of Deutsche Bahn

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Situation

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is the project leader of the itea2 project openETCS, which has the objective to develop an integrated modeling, development, validation and testing framework for leveraging the cost-efficient and reliable implementation of the European Train Control System (ETCS). This three year, 212 person-year project has strategic importance to DB, as adaption of ETCS is required by legislation, and costs are currently prohibitive.  By applying the principles of “Open Proof”, openETCS promises to reduce the cost of on-board ETCS controllers significantly, by using a shared, open-system model, developed with open tools.  This project started in July 2012.

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Challenge

At the kick-off of this project in July 2012, it was decided to break one rather large work package (77 person-years) into two smaller ones.  This created the need for a leader for the “tool chain development” work package on short notice.  Such a work package leader must have extensive project management skills and technical understanding of systems engineering as well as the rail domain.  Further, a deep understanding of “open proofs” would be desirable, and an agile approach should be used.  Oh yes, immediate availability was a must as well.

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Solution

Believing in the principles behind openETCS, Formal Mind stepped up to the task, even though it was not clear at the time how this work would be financed.  Eventually, this work was performed by order of DB.  Formal Mind freed up Dr. Michael Jastram for this task, who immediately engaged by building up the team to define a clear scope of the new work package.  The newly formed work package WP7 was the first to provide tangible results, setting the pace for the project as a whole.

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Results

As a research project that follows open principles, the results of our work are in the open and can be inspected by anyone.  Specifically, Formal Mind’s work package WP7 was a pioneer in setting up and using the common communication infrastructure that is now used by all other work packages.  This also allowed WP7 to form a community that was productive almost from the beginning.  Notable results to date (besides a new description of work for the work package) include an exhaustive evaluation of modeling tools and deliverable documenting the decisions for developing the primary tool chain, to be used for modeling the openETCS system.