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Fault Isolation in Distributed Embedded Systems

To improve safety, reliability, and efficiency of automotive vehicles and other technical applications, embedded systems commonly use fault diagnosis consisting of fault detection and isolation. Since many systems are constructed as distributed embedded systems including multiple control units, it is necessary to perform global fault isolation using for example a central unit. However, the drawbacks with such a centralized method are the need of a powerful diagnostic unit and the sensitivity against disconnections of this unit.

Two alternative methods to centralized fault isolation are presented in this thesis. The first method performs global fault isolation by a distributed sequential computation. For a set of studied systems, the method gives, compared to a centralized method, a mean reduction in maximum processor load on any unit with 40 and 70% for systems consisting of four and eight units respectively. The second method instead extends the result of the local fault isolation performed in each unit such that the results are globally correct. By only considering the components affecting each specific unit, the extended result in each agent is kept small. For a studied automotive vehicle, the second method gives, compared to a centralized method, a mean reduction in the sizes of the results and the maximum processor load on any unit with 85 and 90% respectively.

To perform fault diagnosis, diagnostic tests are commonly used. If the additional evaluation of tests can not improve the fault isolation of a component then the component is ready. Since the evaluation of a test comes with a cost in for example computational resources, it is valuable to minimize the number of tests that have to be evaluated before readiness is achieved for all components. A strategy is presented that decides in which order to evaluate tests such that readiness is achieved with as few evaluations of tests as possible.

Besides knowing how fault diagnosis is performed, it is also interesting to assess the effect that fault diagnosis has on for example safety. Since fault tree analysis often is used to evaluate safety, this thesis contributes with a systematic method that includes the effect of fault diagnosis in fault trees. The safety enhancement due to the use of fault diagnosis can thereby be analyzed and quantified.

Jonas Biteus


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Last updated: 2021-11-10