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Critical Software brings space technology down to Earth

Within the framework of the PTTI initiative, Critical Software has successfully concluded a demonstrator, which shows how highly-effective system testing techniques used in Space can also be used to increase the reliability, affordability and safety of tomorrow’s cars.

The enabling technology in the demonstrator - Fault Injection - has been widely applied in space systems to assure robustness of embedded control platforms. It has been used by Critical Software in the R&D ESA STADY Project, and in the independent verification and validation of the ESA Sentinel 1 satellite central control software. In all of these cases it has been found to be an extremely effective method of stress testing highly-sensitive control electronics.

For cars, this means a powerful method of improving the reliability of high-tech braking systems, track control and stability systems, engine control units, as well as next-generation connected infotainment systems. Keeping development costs low, while ensuring safe and reliable systems and guaranteeing short time-to-market of new technologies, is a real challenge for the automotive industry. Fault Injection is the state-of-the-art technology that can give a significant competitive edge in system testing for the industry. Stated in the ISO 26262 as a highly-recommended technique for safety-assurance of embedded automotive systems, it allows for automated testing of systems, enhancing reliability and decreasing the validation effort for the system.

Critical Software presented the Fault Injection demonstrator at the Automotive Testing Expo in Stuttgart. Faults were injected on a running ABS system. It was then demonstrated that the faults negatively affected the braking ability of the system, therefore showing that this particular system had robustness and reliability issues. The system was demonstrated, in this context, to companies such as Bosch, AVL, Autoliv, and DAF Trucks (Paccar), Hyundai, among others.

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