Platforms for Functionally Safe Computing, Considering Mixed-Critical Applications

By Chad Cox

Production Editor

Embedded Computing Design

June 28, 2022


Image Provided by congatec Inc.

congatec announced significant investments in functional safety at embedded world Hall 5/Booth 135.

Many new applications require functionally safe embedded computing platforms, ranging from industrial machinery and collaborative robotics to autonomous vehicles on shopfloors, rails, and roads. For all of these applications, there is also a trend toward hardware consolidation, which necessitates running mixed-critical applications on functionally safe multicore embedded systems to manage multiple safety and non-safety critical tasks in parallel. congatec now qualifies embedded x86 multicore platforms for FuSa certification, including IEC 61508 and ISO 13849.

The functional safety-ready COM Express Mini module conga-MA7 runs a FuSa demo application on the RTS hypervisor and integrated real-time Linux with the FuSa-qualified Intel CPU x6427FE and Safety Island support. This FuSa demonstration demonstrates that congatec has already gone a long way toward qualifying its first Computer-on-Modules based on Intel Atom x6000 E processor technology (formerly codenamed Elkhart Lake), with more modules to come.

OEMs can immediately start implementing congatec’s functional safety ready modules, BSPs and own software components into their application platforms. congatec is ready to support OEM customers with all customization needs compliant to their specific certification demands – be it component selection and implementation on carrier boards, OS and hypervisor support, or I/O driver implementation support in accordance with the certification needs.

To qualify Computer-on-Modules for safe operation, all components as well as the entire BSP must be prepared for FuSa certification, including safety manuals and additional required documentation. In addition, all organizational processes and documents created during development and testing, such as FMEDA (Failure Modes, Effects, and Diagnostic Analysis) and the verification and validation (V&V) process, must be brought in line with certification requirements and audited by external assessors. All of this is now available from congatec, allowing customers to begin their FuSa projects more quickly, at a lower cost, and with less implementation risk.

“Functionally safe hardware and hardware near software are fundamental building blocks for any functional safety application and require a detailed look at all components. OEMs who utilize a Computer-on-Module as an application ready building block – including relevant software components such as bootloader, hypervisor and BSP – that is already certifiable for functional safety can save a lot of time and money. They will then only need to qualify the customer specific carrier board and related adaptations for certification,” explains congatec CTO Konrad Garhammer, summing up the customer value of the company’s functional safety investments.

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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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