Reusable software is for “out ofcContext” safety critical systems

HCC Embedded believes it is setting a new bar with its safety elements out of context (SEooC) approach to developing reusable software components that can be integrated with systems engineered to meet stringent safety, quality, and portability requirements. It has created the processes and environment to build reusable SEooCs and has introduced its first element, the HCC SafeTCPIP network stack for use in automotive systems.

Future releases will map the standard ISO26262 V-model process to other safety-critical standards such as in aerospace, industrial, and medical device markets, reveals the company.

“Reusing software in a safety context introduces complex challenges, such as how to do full lifecycle maintenance on essentially off-the-shelf components,” explains HCC Embedded CEO, Dave Hughes. “HCC has . . . [packaged] a SEooC process for deeply embedded software components and . . . built the full lifecycle to be a manageable part of our customers’ safety development,” he adds.

Originating in ISO 26262-10, SEooC is a method for using software or hardware components in a vehicle that were not originally designed for that specific project. A software SEooC is developed to a safety standard, in this case ISO 26262, which means that it is developed with all the processes of a full software safety lifecycle and within the design constraints of a safety system. The software components are developed “out of context” to provide a specific function with no awareness of how the component will be used in the target system. The element indicates that this is a unit or module with a specific range of functionality. HCC claims to be the first embedded software module vendor to use the SEooC approach to build commercial software elements.

Automotive software developers may require a TCP/IP stack to be integrated into a safety product to guarantee the quality of the networking or to allow it to be used in a safety environment for a supporting, non-safety-critical role such as diagnostics. The de facto network standard for connected cars and in-vehicle safety systems is TCP/IP, but commercially available products are rarely developed to meet safety standards, are only partially certified, or are tightly integrated to a single vendor’s development system and RTOS.

HCC’s SafeTCPIP is a complete TCP/IPv4 network stack developed to the ISO 26262 Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) B standard. HCC’s SafeTCPIP element is an off-the-shelf solution that has been independently designed to satisfy TCP/IP networking requirements. The reusability of the TCP/IP stack contributes to long-term stability and reduces development costs, adds the company.

The SafeTCPIP Element is developed to full ISO 26262 Section 6 processes for integration with automotive systems that require a high safety integrity level and is supported by an independent software lifecycle for maintenance. The exact, verified product that is integrated can be maintained and modified to safety standards independent of any other project that integrates SafeTCPIP. It is developed as a SEooC, so the element can therefore be integrated with the company’s other safety development lifecycle.

HCC Embedded will be at Embedded World, (26 to 28 February 2019), Nürnberg, Germany, Hall 4-318. 

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