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Create safety certified code for industrial systems

Posted: 14 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:industrial automation? real-time operating system? RTOS? IEC 61508? system-on-chip?

With a power management framework, embedded software developers can effectively write code to meet power requirements without creating code bloat or increasing footprint. When developing safety critical and non-safety applications, a power management framework allows embedded software developers to consider power specifications early in the software design cycle. Code can be written to minimise both the footprint and power consumption and tested throughout the development process to ensure power requirements are achieved.

The process model feature, power management framework, and support for TEE are just a few of the important capabilities an RTOS for safety-critical designs should have. Similarly, while only the IEC 61508 standard was discussed in this article, the software and tools used should (figure 2) support certification under a variety of industry standards.

Figure 2: Operating systems and tools for safety-critical software design, like Mentor's SafetyCert, should support a range of industry standards.

The importance of a certified OS
Safety-critical software is commonly built on a certified real time operating system (RTOS). The RTOS executes in the safety critical domain and is tasked with managing the system resources in accordance with certain rules. It is essential that the RTOS effectively manages and shares the resources so that it does not impede or impact the certified application. In short, the safety- certified RTOS needs to get out of the way of the certified application. It's important for the RTOS to:
???Ensure data is correctly modified
???Deliver expected results on time
???Guarantee the user code is executed as expected
???Handle fault conditions correctly

The selection of a certified operating system with a light-weight process model and power management framework serves as the foundation for the cost-effective implementation of mixed criticality in industrial devices. The introduction of powerful SoCs allows software developers to consolidate safety critical and non-safety critical applications on a single SoC by taking advantage of a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) which is also vital in keeping system complexity and certifications costs at a minimum.

About the author
Andrew Caples is a Product Marketing Manager for the Embedded Systems Division (ESD) of Mentor Graphics. He has over 20 years of experience in start-ups and fortune 500 high tech companies and has served in a variety of roles ranging from technical marketing to sales management. He has a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from California Polytechnic University. His current responsibilities include product management for the Nucleus Real-Time Operating System.

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