Software & Systems Modeling

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 91–113 | Cite as

Model-based engineering in the embedded systems domain: an industrial survey on the state-of-practice

  • Grischa Liebel
  • Nadja Marko
  • Matthias Tichy
  • Andrea Leitner
  • Jörgen Hansson
Special Section Paper


Model-based engineering (MBE) aims at increasing the effectiveness of engineering by using models as important artifacts in the development process. While empirical studies on the use and the effects of MBE in industry exist, only few of them target the embedded systems domain. We contribute to the body of knowledge with an empirical study on the use and the assessment of MBE in that particular domain. The goal of this study is to assess the current state-of-practice and the challenges the embedded systems domain is facing due to shortcomings with MBE. We collected quantitative data from 113 subjects, mostly professionals working with MBE, using an online survey. The collected data spans different aspects of MBE, such as the used modeling languages, tools, notations, effects of MBE introduction, or shortcomings of MBE. Our main findings are that MBE is used by a majority of all participants in the embedded systems domain, mainly for simulation, code generation, and documentation. Reported positive effects of MBE are higher quality and improved reusability. Main shortcomings are interoperability difficulties between MBE tools, high training effort for developers and usability issues. Our study offers valuable insights into the current industrial practice and can guide future research in the fields of systems modeling and embedded systems.


Model-based engineering Model-driven engineering Embedded systems Industry Modeling Empirical study  State-of-practice 



The research leading to these results has received partial funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) for CRYSTAL-Critical System Engineering Acceleration Joint Undertaking under Grant Agreement No. 332830 and from Vinnova under DIARIENR 2012-04304. Further, the authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from FFG Austria for the project in which the above presented research results were achieved. We would also like to thank Aleksander Lodwich, Jos Langen and Leon Bouwmeester for participating in the survey design and contributing to the final study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grischa Liebel
    • 1
  • Nadja Marko
    • 2
  • Matthias Tichy
    • 3
  • Andrea Leitner
    • 2
  • Jörgen Hansson
    • 4
  1. 1.Software Engineering DivisionChalmers University of Technology and University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Virtual Vehicle Research CenterGrazAustria
  3. 3.Institute of Software EngineeringUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  4. 4.School of InformaticsUniversity of SkövdeSkövdeSweden

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