Smart Systems Engineering (SmartSE)

Task and objective

In order to speed up the development of complex mechatronic systems and save on costs, these systems are increasingly being backed up virtually. Since development is usually distributed over a reasonably long supply chain, simulation processes and data formats need to be standardized so that simulation models and other information relevant for simulations can be exchanged between different partners and used in different tools. The Smart Systems Engineering (SmartSE) project group has set itself the aim of developing application-related concepts for cross-enterprise collaboration in simulation-based systems engineering. To this end, it develops recommendations for process design and pursues standards for the collaborative development of complex mechatronic systems.

The SmartSE project group comprises participants from approximately 30 companies and research institutes, including both user companies and software vendors. The project group celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. Over the years, it has been instrumental in improving the FMI (Functional Mockup Interface) standard and establishing it as the industry standard for simulation model exchange.

Focus and concrete results

The SmartSE project concluded the fourth phase of the project  last year with the presentation of a third, revised version of the Smart Systems Engineering recommendation. It is available free of charge at This means that project has now entered the fifth phase, which involves expanding the focus from bidirectional collaboration with two partners to include collaborative development with multiple partners while at the same time addressing new topics such as the compatibility of systems engineering and agile methods.

The focus of the work performed in this fifth phase of the project also includes the development of best practices for simulation-based systems engineering in collaborative development processes, which benefits all the partners. An initial concrete result is the best practices for the SSP (System Structure and Parameterization) standard, which has been available since the middle of last year and which the project group has described in a white paper. It makes it possible to exchange not only individual simulation models but also interlinked models and parameter structures across companies and between different tools.

Organizational and technical challenges

Now that the government-funded SET Level project for the verification and validation of highly-automated driving functions has been completed, the Credible Simulation Process Framework defined as part of the project has been handed over to the SmartSE project group. The challenge now is to expand the processes in a way that ensures the execution and traceability of the simulations and the simulation results throughout the supply chain. This requires, among other things, expanding the SSP standard to include the mapping of standardized simulation processes (SSP traceability).

Planning for the current year 2023

During the course of the current year, the SmartSE project group will continue to develop best practices for simulation-based systems engineering in cross-enterprise development processes involving multiple partners. Core topics for the various work packages include a reliable simulation process and the harmonization of metadata to ensure the quality of the simulation, the handling of different modeling and abstraction approaches when using simulations, the combination of systems engineering and agile methods, and expanding the V-model to include information relevant to standards, engineering artifacts and development approaches.

What the project coordinator says:

"SmartSE celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, making it one of the longest-lived and most successful projects in the prostep ivip Association. The active participation of 26 global companies, some of which also took part in the workshops held on site in Darmstadt, shows that the project and the topics it is addressing are still in line with industry's current needs."

What the project manager says:

"We would like to see this active participation continue with fruitful discussions on the focal issues we are addressing in phase five of the project. For example, the interesting question of how we evaluate the quality of simulation results, how we deal with different levels of abstraction in simulation and how a balance between the V-model and agile methods can be achieved."

Project management

Chair WF, IF, BM:
Hans-Martin Heinkel, Robert Bosch GmbH

Project coordination

Dr. Melanie Kluge
Tel.: +49 157 5016 5353
E-Mail: melanie.kluge(at)


ANSYS Germany GmbH
Audi AG
AVL List GmbH
BMW Group
Dassault Systèmes SE
TU Darmstadt DIK
DENSO Corporation
:em engineering methods AG
eXXcellent Solutions GmbH
Fraunhofer IESE
Fraunhofer IFF
Fraunhofer IPK
Robert Bosch GmbH
Siemens AG
Siemens Industry Software GmbH
The Boeing Company
Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation
Toyota Motor Europe
Virtual Vehicle
Volkswagen AG
ZF Friedrichshafen AG