Safety-Critical V&V for Automotive
The automobile is so prevalent in our daily lives that we often fail to acknowledge the massive array of technologies packed into the modern car. Advances in electronic control units (ECUs) were key to many of the efficiency and safety improvements we now enjoy when using the automobile. These advances turned the car from a mechanical machine to an immensely complex cyber-physical system, changing the driver's role in subtle yet impressive ways. In the future, the driver may be removed from his or her position behind the wheel altogether.
The landscape we live in is marked by more complex ECUs controlled by increasingly complex software, a wide range of variants and shrinking development cycles. While the cycles for new models are still relatively large, cycles for ECU/SW variants, which are deployed across many models, are at the epicentre of time-to-market pressures. Within this context, the impact of failure on manufacturer reputations has dramatically grown and safety concerns in the industry are on the rise, as evidenced by the introduction of ISO 26262.
The automotive industry now has to deal with ever more complex systems, shorter time frames and less tolerance to failure from markets and end users. This is a formidable challenge for Verification & Validation (V&V). One can hardly rely on in-vehicle testing as the main feedback line on ECU safety, performance and functional correctness. The industry needs innovative and efficient approaches to V&V built upon lessons learnt and best practices. This is where CRITICAL Software stands: a company that started with a fault injection tool for space applications and has since performed V&V for ECUs and software deployed in aircraft, spacecraft, rail rolling stock, medical devices, automotive systems and more.
CRITICAL Software’s V&V services for the automotive industry include:
- Testing of BSP/RTOS: testing of low-level software including board support packages (BSP), real-time operating systems (RTOS) and, in particular, multi-core mixed criticality systems (i.e. testing the inner foundations of the modern ECU).
- Testing of ECUs and critical software applications: testing of hardware and software safety functions in environments that span across software-in-the-loop (SIL), model-in-the-loop (MIL) and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL). This includes a strict fulfilment of industry standards (such as ISO 26262) and a focus on efficient testing through effective automation and design of tests for reuse across variants.