QNX launches safety-optimised auto operating system

July 15, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the Detroit Telematics Conference real-time software company QNX has announced QNX OS for Automotive Safety. The operating system is based on proven QNX technologies but fine-tuned for systems requiring a certification according to the ISO26262 safety standard.

According to QNX, by the way a subsidiary of smartphone vendor BlackBerry, the new operating system is the company's answer to the growing demand for digital cockpits, head-up displays, advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS) and other safety-relevant applications. It is planned to have it certified for all safety integrity levels including ASIL-D, which is the highest level defined.

QNX OS for Automotive Safety will help to reduce time-to-market and development costs for safety-critical systems such as digital cockpits and ADAS, the vendor says. The reason is that the OS enables developers to run safety-critical functions on the same hardware as non-critical functions. An example is the digital cockpit: In digital cockpits, virtual instruments are created by software and graphics hardware. The speed indicator is considered safety-critical and therefore requires a certification according to ISO26262; the rev counter does not, though it is running besides the speed indicator on the same hardware. To enable such combinations, the operating system contains functions such as fine-grained process insulation and memory protection. In addition, it supports active timing partitions, a proprietary QNX technology which prevents that non-critical applications "steal" CPU cycles from safety-critical applications.

In systems defined as safety-critical according to ISO26262, it does not suffice that just the operating system is certified. Instead, each component as well as the entire system has to undergo the certification process. And since ISO26262 is still a rather new standard, the complex certification process is still unchartered, risky terrain to many automotive OEMs and tier ones. QNX offers to support customers to achieve this certification. This holds particularly true for the certification of the operating system according to IEC 61508, a standard for functional safety that is the basis for an ISO26262 certification.

QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0 will be available in 3Q2014.

For more information visits www.qnx.com

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