ZAL GmbH throws out the net – News from the DELIA research project

The ZAL GmbH casts the net for new cabin innovations. To meet the changing demands of cabin systems, it is constantly pushing new projects and cooperations. This is especially shown by the progress in the DELIA project, which started at the beginning of 2019. The combined expertise of the engineers at ZAL GmbH and partners from universities and industry are being interwoven in this project, just like the communication network that is ultimately at stake. The main goal of the DELIA project is to develop an innovative communication and processing network for various in-flight applications. The platform should simultaneously enable a dynamic arrangement of system functions and the redistribution of the data stream.

Changing cabin requirements

Modern onboard electronics is composed of applications that consist of several proprietary isolated domains. They use technologically different communication systems. However, these are not only incompatible with each other, but also do not meet future requirements. This is because sufficiently high data rates, real-time capability, and dynamic cross-system communication are essential for this. The DELIA project has therefore set itself the task of creating innovative network nodes. The functionalities of the nodes can be dynamically adapted to react to changing system requirements and network modifications. Thus, new functions can be installed quickly and easily without having to remove and replace components physically.

We link to progress

Thanks to close cooperation, the project team defined possible use cases for the DELIA modules, specified the system architecture, and evaluated required hardware. The established architecture of the DELIA modules enables high data rates while ensuring reliability and prioritization. A real-time-capable fiber optic backbone, which connects the DELIA modules in a ring structure, allows data rates of up to 10 Gbit/s. A scalable and reproducible data processing behavior is achieved with FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) technology and multi-core processors on each DELIA module. This is necessary to supplement the data transport functions, for example, to transfer sensor and actuator data.

Latest technologies

The DELIA platform meets the desired technological requirements by incorporating several innovative technologies for aerospace. These include the application of TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) standards for deterministic data transmission via Ethernet or the use of virtualization to separate the hosting of non-safety-critical functions from safety-critical functions in different cabin subsystems. The implemented virtualization makes it possible to dynamically add functionalities without changing the physical modules.

The project team – networked know-how

The Universities of Hamburg and Stuttgart support DELIA with their research knowledge, ensure formally correct basic work, and the latest research. Tailor-made hardware that offers the desired sophisticated system and network architecture is developed by AED Engineering GmbH and solectrix GmbH. Finally, the engineers at ZAL GmbH bring together the contributions of all partners to develop and install multiple use cases: The experts configure and connect DELIA modules with various actuators and sensors. They thus test and demonstrate the capabilities of the system and its benefits for the aerospace industry. They design embedded systems and software for various components of the DELIA network.

DELIA for HealthTech

In times of COVID-19, the distributed passenger health monitoring system is a particularly interesting application. The body temperature of each passenger can be monitored by the DELIA modules. They are connected to several infrared cameras and detect an irregular condition or increase in body temperature. During and before impending waves of illness or pandemics, this functionality can be activated, making it an indispensable tool for safeguarding the health of passengers. Here, the DELIA platform enables a precisely tailored and flexible exchange of critical information between sensors and health management functions in the DELIA nodes, which can be combined as required.

DELIA Demonstrator

The main focus of this project is the development of a common demonstrator, where the built-in functionalities, as well as the know-how of all participants, are combined in a test setup.

Would you like to learn more about the DELIA project? Here you can find further information or contact us:

Data & Power Networks
Dr. Leonid Lichtenstein
Head of Data & Power Networks
+49 40 248 595 143


*Here the components from different manufacturers are meant. These are protected, certified and often do not provide any documentation about their architecture and exact functionality (e.g. for protection against reverse engineering).