The Rust Foundation Announces Consortium for Safety-Critical Applications

By Chad Cox

Production Editor

Embedded Computing Design

June 18, 2024


Dover, Delaware. The Rust FoundationAdaCoreArmFerrous SystemsHighTec EDV-Systeme GmbHLynx Software TechnologiesOxidOSTECHFUNDTrustInSoftVeecle, and Woven by Toyota announced the Safety-Critical Rust Consortium to support the responsible use of the Rust programming language in safety-critical software. “This is exciting! I am truly pleased to see the Rust Foundation and anyone in the safety-critical space coming together on this topic” said Graydon Hoare, creator of the Rust programming language.

The consortium will begin with the formation of a public charter and goals. It will communicate with the Rust Project through Rust Foundation Project Directors and members of Rust Project teams. The Consortium’s range, which will be fully outlined in the agreement, may include the development of guidelines, linters, libraries, static analysis tools, formal methods and language subsets to meet industrial constraints.

It will look into expanding the Rust Foundation-funded implementation work, including grants to existing academic teams or FOSS projects. Funded consortium work will be submitted and licensed as FOSS with any specifications freely available. The group will continue to attempt to coordinate with and expand on existing safety-critical projects and standards including SAE JA1020.

“Rust has already established itself as a safe and secure programming language with developers in open source, industry and governments. Now is the time to use that momentum towards bringing Rust as a mainstream language in safety-critical areas, providing processes and specifications that allow Rust to be certified in this space,” said Joel Marcey, Director of Technology at the Rust Foundation.

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Statement on the significance of the Safety-Critical Rust Consortium:

“The Rust programming language offers safety, security and performance. It is no surprise that safety-critical industries are keen to explore how they might use Rust in their work. At the Rust Foundation, we have always focused on working collaboratively with the community, with industry and our members to solve problems, develop solutions and improve the Rust user experience. Given how ‘critical’ the safety-critical industry is, the Rust Foundation is very motivated to bring together key stakeholders across communities and industries to explore how Rust can meet compliance standards and contribute to better software for everyone.” 

  • Rebecca Rumbul, Executive Director & CEO of the Rust Foundation

“Given the rising prevalence of software vulnerabilities, particularly around memory-safety, it is important that safety-critical industries such as automotive, aerospace and core infrastructure develop software practices that reduce the risk of these vulnerabilities. Rust has been proven to be the ideal programming language for all facets of secure software development and it should be a first choice in safety-critical operations. The Safety-Critical Rust Consortium will enable a number of impactful companies and organizations to collaboratively ensure that Rust meets essential compliance standards in safety-critical applications.”

  • Joel Marcey, Director of Technology at the Rust Foundation

Statement on why the Rust Foundation is the right host of the Safety-Critical Rust Consortium:

“As the home of the Rust programming language, with a key goal to grow adoption and improve quality, the Rust Foundation is well-placed to facilitate and support cross-sectoral and cross-community discussion and collaboration to ensure that Rust is appropriate for use in the safety critical industry.”

  • Rebecca Rumbul, Executive Director & CEO of the Rust Foundation:

Are there any immediate goals or milestones the consortium aims to achieve?

“At the Rust Foundation, we consider our role to be facilitative and supportive, rather than prescriptive. Our ultimate goal with this consortium is to enable Rust to be used in safety critical systems; however we get there is a matter for members of the consortium to agree upon. The Rust Foundation is delighted to have a strong group of members joining this group, and we hope to welcome new members on an ongoing basis to bring new and varied expertise into the process.”

  • Rebecca Rumbul, Executive Director & CEO of the Rust Foundation 

How do you see the consortium influencing the broader adoption of Rust?

“If safety-critical industries see that Rust meets their compliance requirements, as well as their functional and performance requirements, the language can be used more prevalently in their tools and applications. The consortium plans to work to ensure that Rust will meet all three of those axes.”

How do you plan to measure the success of the consortium’s initiatives?

“The Rust Foundation will consider the Safety-Critical Rust Initiative to be successful if we begin to see Rust more broadly utilized across one or more safety-critical industries such as automotive or aerospace. We intend to work closely with members of the consortium to hone our success markers and reporting mechanisms.” 

  • Joel Marcey, Director of Technology at the Rust Foundation 

How does the consortium/the Foundation plan to address issues related to compliance in safety-critical industries?

“Because of their potential impacts, safety-critical industries are often regulated, have liability considerations, and are guided by standards such as IEC 61508, ISO 26262, IEC 62304, and DO-178C. Our goal within the consortium is to ensure that Rust will be compliant with those standards.”

  • Joel Marcey, Director of Technology at the Rust Foundation 

Chad Cox. Production Editor, Embedded Computing Design, has responsibilities that include handling the news cycle, newsletters, social media, and advertising. Chad graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in Cultural and Analytical Literature.

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