Challenges in Validating Safety-Critical Embedded Systems
November 2009 • Conference Paper
Peter H. Feiler
This paper outlines challenges in safety-critical embedded systems in addressing system-level faults that are currently discovered late in the development life cycle.
This conference paper was published by SAE International in the Proceedings of the Aerospace Technology Conference and Exposition in November 2009.
Embedded software has played an increasing role in safety-critical systems. At the same time, the current development process of "build, then integrate" has proven unaffordable for the aerospace industry. This paper outlines challenges in safety-critical embedded systems in addressing system-level faults that are currently discovered late in the development life cycle. We then discuss an architecture-centric approach to model-based engineering to complement the validation of systems with analysis of different operational quality aspects from an architecture model. A key technology in this approach is the Architecture Analysis & Design Language (AADL), an SAE International standard for embedded software systems. It supports analysis of operational qualities such as responsiveness, safety-criticality, security, and reliability through model annotations. A number of industry initiatives have been underway to demonstrate the feasibility of using this technology in industrial practice.