The research project Industry 4.0 of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thorsten Schöler at the University
of Applied Sciences uses a cyber-physical system with software agents to control a factory.
The concept of a cyber-physical system (CPS) for smart buildings is motivated by
the architectural ideas of the Industry 4.0 project, so the motivation is that a software
agent based cyber-physical system also could be flexible enough to control a smart building.
Cyber-Physical Systems in Buildings
A perfect use case for a cyber-physical systems is a smart building, because the CPS can
use the sensors and actuators of it to interact with the physical world. Also a smart
building needs a system which uses its sensors and actuators to control it and a
cyber-physical system will do so. The sensors of the building producing information,
they come into the system as a stream of events, each event containing the current state
of one sensor. This stream of events has to be processed as fast as possible to react in
real time on events which happened in the physical world, like the falling rain on an open
skylight. To do so, the CPS must have the capability to process events fast and recognize
complex events. Jobs of the cyber-physical system are the complex event processing, read
information from sensors or communicate with actuators. Also humans will interact with the
building and the job is to process the tasks created by a human. All this jobs are different
and must be done simultaneously and autonomously. The designed system uses a software agent
for each job, they can work autonomously and all the software agents will act simultaneously.
One software agent can do the complex event processing, one can communicate with sensors and
actuators and one can run tasks, created by humans. Also a software agent is needed to
perform tasks, like to stop the heating of a room or to close all skylights. It knows which
actuators must be notified to perform a particular task.