Systems Engineering (SE)

Using Model-based Product Line Engineering for Decision Making and to Guide Product Development

by Matthew Hause; Andreas Korff; Hedley Apperly


Product Line Engineering (PLE) is the engineering and management of a group of related products using a shared set of assets and a means of design and manufacturing. PLE can include system and software, assets and involves all aspects of engineering including electrical, electronic, mechanical, chemical, etc. PLE is normally considered after the product has evolved and complexity becomes too much to manage. Leveraging PLE from the very beginning will identify cost savings and commonality and provide a natural means for product evolution. Orthogonal Variability Modeling (OVM) provides a natural decision set allowing engineers to perform trade-offs for specific customers and guide system development along the most effective route. Using automotive examples, this paper will describe Model-based Product Line Engineering, the process for creating product lines, and the benefits of this approach as applicable to the military ground vehicle domain. Finally, it will show how the adoption of MB-PLE early on in the development lifecycle provides more benefits without the potential disruption and re-engineering that can be involved when it is adopted later on in the lifecycle.