Hurry is Hazardous: We Need Both Safety AND Efficiency

Tue, 04/05/2022 - 18:07

We live in a world where our safety increasingly depends on software. It has now become so deeply ingrained in many aspects of modern life that, quite literally at times, we can’t live without it. This reflects three broad, converging industry trends: increased software complexity, greater software dependency, and growing demand for fast, accurate, safety critical performance from software.

The question for organizations that produce goods that depend on software is how do you manage these trends in a cost-effective yet responsible way? BUGSENG responds releasing a new certified solution to facilitate and accelerate the development of functional-safety applications in most industry sectors.




But let’s have a look at what’s going on in the industry.



It is a fact that software is becoming more complex and inter-dependent across every industry sector. This is leading to a rapidly growing number of devices and applications. Let’s think about self-driving cars, fully-adaptive bionic hands, shelf-diving warehouse robots, and autonomous lawn mowers.

This explosion of software complexity is particularly evident in the automotive sector. The Apollo 11 moon-shot used about 145,000 lines of code, yet a modern car now needs of the order of 100 million lines of code just to run. Manufacturers and their suppliers are developing and launching new applications almost every month and many interact and interlock with other systems.

The software in cars is essential for safety features, such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), collision avoidance sensors and hands-free parking. It also operates seemingly frivolous things, such as voice control of the entertainment or climate control system. What happens though when passengers can use voice activation to, say, alert emergency services to a crash situation – what effect might this have on other voice activated systems?

This brings us to the second trend.



As we embed more software in our systems, so the criticality of that software increases. And often what is at stake is the safety of end users. What wasn’t critical a few years ago is critical now. That increased criticality is often the result of changes to other parts of the system or because the environment in which the software is used has changed.

For instance, one of our customers produces devices that control several aspects of a motorcycle’s engine. Their devices allow the rider to set certain controls before starting their journey.

One control for the throttle has a ‘rain-mode’ that limits the bike’s acceleration in wet conditions. It also has a ‘race-mode’ that maximizes acceleration in dry conditions. A simple app allows riders to set the controls using their mobile phone.

On one level, that makes perfect sense: the control improves safety by giving riders greater control of their bike’s performance, while the app gives them convenience. However, what happens if someone hacks their phone and changes their settings (from wet to dry)? The phone app has now made the throttle control both safety critical and security critical.

These potential vulnerabilities are often a product of the third trend.



It’s particularly important that manufacturers ensure all their technical component suppliers provide proof that they have used robust software verification tools where appropriate. In sectors such as the automotive industry, this implies using a verification tool that meets MISRA C/C++ standards and generates compliance reports. But there’s often more to it.

Do you ever feel like you are racing in a match of Need for Speed? Activities such as digging out evidence of compliance with functional safety standards to get third-parties’ approval, without the proper tools, can invest a team for months. Which is not compatible with production timing. Doing the job in the proper way to produce safe and secure systems requires resources, time and dedication. However, once that is done, providing the required evidence ought to be as simple as possible: here is where efficiency can go hand-in-hand with safety and security.


This is why we designed the new ECLAIR FuSa Pack: to enable engineers, even those relatively new to functional safety matters, to meet functional-safety requirements for multiple standards and develop compliant systems yet minimizing risk, development time, and cost.


The pack is relatively inexpensive and consists of the new ECLAIR Safety and Security Manual containing all information and checklists for the adoption of ECLAIR in safety-related development, and ECLAIR’s TÜV SÜD certificate and technical report. The pack is complemented by a generous number of hours of consultancy to further facilitate and speed up the qualification process.


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