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Wind River Hatches Safety Critical OS

Come October, the embedded software and tools vendor will roll out products aimed at those who seek certification to IEC 61508 safety standards.

“We think there’s a strong market emerging for safety critical devices and controllers at SIL [safety integrity level] 2 and 3,” states Tony Tryba, vice president and general manager of the automotive, industrial, defense and aerospace division, at Wind River Systems, Alameda, Calif, a provider of embedded software, systems and tools. “Engineers will need a richer tool set and operating environment, along with certification evidence, to help their companies get into a higher level of compliance with standards,” Tryba says.

“We announced a ‘platformization’ strategy last November to raise the starting point for the average embedded engineer,” continues Tryba. “We offer a combination of operating system, middleware and tools in a pre-qualified, pre-engineered fashion that makes customers more efficient. In the past, we’ve had platforms for industrial devices and automation. Now the safety critical offering extends our products into higher reliability and safety domains, including the technology to address the IEC 61508 safety standard.”

Wind River is adding automation-specific, safety critical solutions to its Industrial Platform products with the upcoming October launch of a Safety Critical IEC 61508 offering called Platform for Safety Critical IEC61508. This product is aimed at those in the industrial embedded software market who seek certification to IEC 61508 standards.

Other products offered by Wind River in the industrial market include Platform for Industrial Devices (Platform ID) and Platform for Industrial Automation (Platform IA). Platform ID includes the VxWorks real-time operating system, DCOM, CAN & USB drivers and foundation software necessary to create devices for power generation & distribution, medical, transportation, and test & measurement systems. Designed for factory automation, Platform IA includes all the Platform ID components as well as enterprise and fieldbus connectivity through DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, OPC Data Access and OPC Alarms & Events.

Platform Safety Critical IEC 61508 includes project facility, object browser, shell, WindView and debugger tools. Project facility allows developers to build two versions of the operating system: VxWorks and VxWorks/Cert. VxWorks can be used for non-safety-critical applications or for full debugging during development of the safety-critical application. VxWorks and VxWorks/Cert have fully compatible application programming interfaces so that legacy applications can be migrated to comply with safety-critical requirements using VxWorks/Cert.

Joseph Wlad, product manager for safety critical systems, adds, “We are delivering an integrated development environment with all of the tools of operating system (OS) development and a certifiable version of the OS, plus middleware such as communications protocols. We’re a little different than others, in that we offer optional certification evidence that shows compliance with standards such as IEC 61508. Further, customers can migrate applications to safety critical applications using the tools within the product.”

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