Beyond connected cars: A systems of systems perspective
Journal article, 2020

The automotive domain is rapidly changing in the last years. Among the different challenges OEMs (i.e. the vehicle manufacturers) are facing, vehicles are evolving into systems of systems. In fact, over the last years vehicles have evolved from disconnected and “blind” systems to systems that are (i) able to sense the surrounding environment and (ii) connected with other vehicles, the city, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. Future transportation systems can be seen as a System of Systems (SoS). In an SoS, constituent systems, i.e. the units that compose an SoS, can act as standalone systems, but their cooperation enables new emerging and promising scenarios. While this trend creates new opportunities, it also poses a risk to compromise key qualities such as safety, security, and privacy. In this paper we focus on the automotive domain and we investigate how to engineer and architect cars in order to build them as constituents of future transportation systems. Our contribution is an architectural viewpoint for System of Systems, which we demonstrate based on an automotive example. Moreover, we contribute a functional reference architecture for cars as constituents of an SoS. This reference architecture can be considered as an imprinting for the implementations that would be devised in specific projects and contexts. We also point out the necessity for a collaboration among different OEMs and with other relevant stakeholders, such as road authorities and smart cities, to properly engineer systems of systems composed of cars, trucks, roads, pedestrians, etc. This work is realized in the context of two Swedish projects coordinated by Volvo Cars and involving some universities and research centers in Sweden and many suppliers of the OEM, including Autoliv, Arccore, Combitech, Cybercom, Knowit, Prevas, ÅF-Technology, Semcom, and Qamcom.

Software engineering

Systems of systems

Architecture framework


Software architecture


Patrizio Pelliccione

University of Gothenburg

University of L'Aquila

Eric Knauss

University of Gothenburg

Magnus Ågren

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Rogardt Heldal

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), CSE Verksamhetsstöd

Carl Bergenhem

Qamcom Research & Technology

Alexey Vinel

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Halmstad University

Oliver Brunnegård


Science of Computer Programming

0167-6423 (ISSN)

Vol. 191 102414

Subject Categories

Information Science

Embedded Systems

Computer Systems



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