Tuesday, September 8, 2015

One OS, multiple safety applications

The latest version of our certified OS for ADAS systems and digital instrument clusters has a shorter product name — but a longer list of talents.

Paul Leroux
Can you ever deliver a safety-critical product to a customer and call it a day? For that matter, can you deliver any product to a customer and call it a day? These, of course, are rhetorical questions. Responsibility for a product rarely ends when you release it, especially when you add safety to the mix. In that case, it’s a long-term commitment that continues until the last instance of the product is retired from service. Which can take decades.

Mind you, people dedicated to building safety-critical products aren’t prone to sitting on their thumbs. From their perspective, product releases are simply milestones in a process of ongoing diligence and product improvement. For instance, at QNX Software Systems, we subject our OS safety products to continual impact analysis, even after they have been independently certified for use in functional safety systems. If that analysis calls for improved product, then improved product is what we deliver. With a refreshed certificate, of course.

Which brings me to the QNX OS for Safety. It’s a new — and newly certified — release of our field-proven OS safety technology, with a twist. Until now, we had one OS certified to the ISO 26262 standard (for automotive systems) and another certified to the IEC 61508 standard (for general embedded systems). The new release is certified to both of these safety standards and replaces the two existing products in one fell swoop.

So if you no longer see the QNX OS for Automotive Safety listed on the QNX website, not to worry. We’ve simply replaced it with an enhanced version that has a shorter product name and broader platform support — all with the same proven technology under the hood. (My colleague Patryk Fournier has put together an infographic that nicely summarizes the new release; see sidebar).

And if you’re at all surprised that a single OS can be certified to both 61508 and 26262, don’t be. As the infographic suggests, IEC 61508 provides the basis for many market-specific standards, including IEC 62304, EN 5012x, and, of course, ISO 26262.

Learn more about the QNX OS for Safety on the QNX website. And for more information on ISO 26262 and how it affects the design of safety-critical automotive systems, check out these whitepapers:

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