Continuous Integration and Delivery practices for Cyber-Physical systems: An interview-based study

Fiorelli Zampetti, Damian A. Tamburri, Sebastiano Panichella, A. Panichella, Massimiliano Di Penta, Gerardo Canfora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) practices have shown several benefits for software development and operations, such as faster release cycles and early discovery of defects. For Cyber-Physical System (CPS) development, CI/CD can help achieving required goals, such as high dependability, yet it may be challenging to apply. This article empirically investigates challenges, barriers, and their mitigation occurring when applying CI/CD practices to develop CPSs in 10 organizations working in eight different domains. The study has been conducted through semi-structured interviews, by applying an open card sorting procedure together with a member-checking survey within the same organizations, and by validating the results through a further survey involving 55 professional developers. The study reveals several peculiarities in the application of CI/CD to CPSs. These include the need for (i) combining continuous and periodic builds while balancing the use of Hardware-in-the-Loop and simulators, (ii) coping with difficulties in software deployment (iii) accounting for simulators and Hardware-in-the-Loop differing in their behavior, and (vi) combining hardware/software expertise in the development team. Our findings open the road toward recommenders aimed at supporting the setting and evolution of CI/CD pipelines, as well as university curricula requiring interdisciplinarity, such as knowledge about hardware, software, and their interplay.

Original languageEnglish
Article number73
Number of pages44
JournalACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


H2020 COSMOS (DevOps for Complex Cyber-physical Systems), Project No. 957254-COSMOS


  • Continuous Integration and Delivery
  • Cyber-Physical Systems
  • empirical software engineering


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