Safety-Critical Software and Control

The Safety-Critical Software and Control group in CTAE is a response to the growing demand for safe Real-Time and Embedded systems in industry and society, especially in the aerospace and mobility sectors.

Our daily lives are surrounded by smart systems, ranging from very simple means in portable devices to extremely complex applications distributed over the world. These systems help make life easier, safer and more sustainable.  The group aims at contributing to this evolution by adding value from technology into real life.

We foster innovative applied research in computer-based technologies, focusing on how complex and ever changing systems can be supported by means of software technologies. 

CTAE´s know-how in Software Engineering methods and tools (e.g. Polyspace Embedded Software Verification tool), Safety-related standards (e.g. in avionics and space), and advanced programming serve to research, technology and development (RTD) activities in the following areas of expertise:

  • Control Systems focusing on GNC for aircrafts and UAS and Advanced Control Techniques as Model-based Robust control, Adaptive control, Fault Detection Isolation and Recovery (FDIR) and Distributed Control (DCS) systems.
  • Real Time (RT) and Embedded Systems with special focus on Safety-Critical applications, including system architectures, operating systems and middlewares, Fault Tolerant systems (FTS), networked systems, distributed computing and portable devices.


Reference projects:

  • AVANT – A project supporting the development of an on-board wake vortex surveillance system, through integrating improved data links and new GNSS technologies. CTAE contributed by developing an air traffic simulator and route conflict based on an open-source flight dynamics model.
  • ITUMA – Investigation of Technologies for an integrated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System for Environmental Monitoring): implementation of the flight planning system for remote monitoring and control of an UAS for environmental monitoring applications.
  • Air-SCR – A mock-up of an airborne integrated surveillance system intended to improve aircraft safety in commercial flights.
  • WeaFUSIO – This project deals with the onboard fusion of meteorological data in real time.
  • PHXLOR – Development of a prototype software tool for converting and embedding NASA telecommands inside ESA mission planning files for Mars lander cross-support.
  • LIFT – Software Engineering for GNC and avionics. With the participation of the Robotics and Advanced Automation group.
  • MOVIN – Software development for a mobile platform for Indoor Positioning. With participation of the Navigation and Communication group.
  • Quality Assurance for Critical Software and Systems course – CTAE contributes to this course at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC).