Safety assurance of an industrial robotic control system using hardware/software co-verification
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScience of Computer Programming. 2022. 216 10.1016/j.scico.2021.102766
As a general trend in industrial robotics, an increasing number of safety functions are being developed or re-engineered to be handled in software rather than by physical hardware such as safety relays or interlock circuits. This trend reinforces the importance of supplementing traditional, input-based testing and quality procedures which are widely used in industry today, with formal verification and model-checking methods. To this end, this paper focuses on a representative safety-critical system in an ABB industrial paint robot, namely the High-Voltage electrostatic Control system (HVC). The practical convergence of the high-voltage produced by the HVC, essential for safe operation, is formally verified using a novel and general co-verification framework where hardware and software models are related via platform mappings. This approach enables the pragmatic combination of highly diverse and specialised tools. The paper's main contribution includes details on how hardware abstraction and verification results can be transferred between tools in order to verify system-level safety properties. It is noteworthy that the HVC application considered in this paper has a rather generic form of a feedback controller. Hence, the co-verification framework and experiences reported here are also highly relevant for any cyber-physical system tracking a setpoint reference.