Why is Software Testing for Embedded Systems Difficult?

Software testing on target hardware presents a series of problems for engineers:

  • How to download tests to the target and retrieve test results
  • How to accumulate tests into suites that can be re-run automatically
  • How to minimize the manual steps involved in the process
  • How to minimize memory over-head during testing

These are often problems that are not easy to solve. And as projects increase in size, from a headcount perspective as well as a line of code perspective, knowledge of the details of how the target hardware works is limited to a small number of engineers.  Most of the software engineers on the project will not know the intricacies of how to set up the target to enable test execution. 

What code are you testing?

One solution to this problem is to test the software application natively.  For application source code that does not have hardware or cross-compiler dependencies, it might be possible to build and execute tests using a native compiler.  This will certainly uncover a number of logic errors, but it will not prove that the final application, when built with a different compiler and executed on a different processor, will behave properly.  In fact, this is why the testing standards for safety critical applications mandate testing in an environment as close to the final product as possible.  This means using the same build tools and the same target processor in your test environment as in your production environment.

Unless you are testing the same object code that will be deployed in your embedded device, you cannot be sure that defects will not be introduced by issues such as compiler bugs, data alignment, and endianness.

Push-button testing for embedded targets

The point of VectorCAST/RSP is to make testing a software application on an embedded target as easy as it is to test on Windows with VisualStudio.  VectorCAST/RSP provides an abstraction for the complexities of target testing, so that you can easily build and run tests regardless of the nuances of your build tools, and target hardware.  By using VectorCAST/RSP, in conjunction with VectorCAST/C++ or VectorCAST/Ada, engineers can focus on building good module tests and not worry about the details of how to get them to run on the target.   VectorCAST/RSP has been successfully deployed on hundreds of combinations of compilers, linkers, run-time environments, and target hardware.

Boosting Software Quality using Target Test Automation

 VectorCAST/RSP integrates with VectorCAST/C++ and VectorCAST/Ada to provide an interface to the target compiler and the communication layer between the host system and the embedded target. This enables test cases to be downloaded to the target and test results to be captured back to the host system all with the push of a button.

With its broad support for target compilers and integrated testing capabilities the VectorCAST applications fit well in our current and...Read full story »

Sven Natus, Manager of Software Development , Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe

The open interfaces of VectorCAST give us the necessary flexibility to adapt VectorCAST to all needs in all our development...Read full story »

Sven Natus, Manager of Software Development, Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe

We evaluated many embedded software testing tools during this process. We chose VectorCAST for its robust features and ease of...Read full story »

Pauline Ng, GM Engineering and Technologies, Flight Focus

We are delighted that Vector Software has integrated its industry-leading VectorCAST suite with AdaCore’s GNAT Pro Safety Critical product for...Read full story »

Jamie Ayre, Marketing Director, AdaCore

The capabilities of VectorCAST for unit/integration test and code coverage perfectly complement our existing static analysis solutions. Coupled with our...Read full story »

Neil Langmead, Chief Operating Officer, Emenda Software

Our leading solutions for Requirements Management, Quality Assurance, and ALM, optimally complement Vector Software’s advanced tools for automated software testing...Read full story »

Michael Carey, President, Polarion Software

We are excited to partner with Vector Software in offering developers a powerful, fully integrated solution for embedded systems development....Read full story »

William E. Lamie, President, Express Logic, Inc.

Key to our selection of VectorCAST was that it offers a single software engineering platform that can manage process complexity...Read full story »

Stefan Sauerer, MBtech

Vector Software provides one of a kind capabilities to address the challenges of testing embedded software applications. Representing Vector Software...Read full story »

Uri Farkash, Director of EDA Operations, Advanced Semiconductor Technologies

As part of our selection process we evaluated several freeware and commercially available off the shelf applications. We chose VectorCAST...Read full story »

Helen Muth, Senior Director of Engineering, MEI Group

The combined offering delivers an unparalleled solution for ensuring quality, reliability, and compliance in the development of critical software systems....Read full story »

Michael Carey, President, Polarion Software

The support we have received from Vector Software has been outstanding. Vector Software’s trainers and support staff consist of highly...Read full story »

Stanislav Fligl, Core Team Leader, ŠKODA ELECTRIC

VectorCAST made our job a lot easier.Read full story »

Taeyoung Noh, Quality Assurance Manager NEOS Project, MDS Technology

Automation in testing is typically considered in the context of meeting safety or regulatory requirements. VectorCAST supports our goal of...Read full story »

Arun Devaray, Senior Software Manager, Visteon Electronics

System test alone is ineffective in enabling organizations to achieve customer demanded quality and meet market opportunity windows. To achieve...Read full story »

Axel Kehlenbeck, Sr. Analyst, Sentry Technology Group

I have been using VectorCAST C/C++ on embedded realtime projects for over 3 years. Creating unit tests has been greatly...Read full story »

Alan Yorinks, Software Engineer, ITT Geospatial Systems

We carefully evaluated a number of tools and we were very impressed with the level of automation provided by the...Read full story »

Steven Lincoln, C-130 Software Development Manager, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Vector Software has a proven record of developing the most advanced dynamic software testing solutions that address the real needs...Read full story »

Neil Langmead, Chief Operating Officer, Emenda Software

Key to our decision was Vector Software's certification of VectorCAST for developing safety related software and its ability to integrate...Read full story »

Don DeLauder, Director, Research and Development, Dräger

We were impressed with Vector Software from the outset. VectorCAST provided excellent ease of use and functionality.Read full story »

Chris Brown, Vice President of Engineering, Athena Technologies

The decision to use Vector Software's automated solution is driven by our need to achieve the highest levels of software...Read full story »

Fábio Assis, Director, XMobots Robotic Systems

We evaluated a number of test tools and were impressed with the VectorCAST automated solution. Using VectorCAST/C++, we have significantly...Read full story »

Julieta Catania, Quality Manager, Tecme S.A.

The VectorCAST platform provides us with the tools we need to begin development of our newest generation of gas detectors....Read full story »

Don DeLauder, Director, Research and Development, Dräger

With VectorCAST we are able to quickly apply state of the art unit testing...Read full story »

Yves Schenker, Embedded Software Engineer, Helbling Technik

I would like to personally thank David Pierson for his hard work and dedication in helping us here at Northrop...Read full story »

Fernando Anguiano, Senior Staff Software Engineer, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

VectorCAST matches our development paradigm exactly. Therefore the tool was simple to set up and integrate into our development process....Read full story »

Sven Natus, Manager of Software Development, Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe

Our project requires compliance with DO-178B Level B, which will require stringent testing activities. We needed the best suite of...Read full story »

Vladimir Baburov, Director, VNIIRA-Navigator

VectorCAST is unique in that it provides us with the ability to increase the reliability and quality of our flight...Read full story »

Wayne Young, Software Principal Engineer, Honeywell ASCa Inc.

Although no hard cost saving metrics were generated comparing the use of VectorCAST/Ada vs. testing with other tools or testing...Read full story »

Mark Hall, Test Consultant, Lockheed Martin

The VectorCAST testing environment is an ideal complement to the static analysis capabilities available in GNAT Pro, together providing a...Read full story »

Cyrille Comar, Managing Director, AdaCore

Vector Software engineers were extremely helpful in supporting our goal to achieve DO-178B certification in short amount of time....Read full story »

Pauline Ng, GM Engineering and Technologies, Flight Focus

We evaluated VectorCAST based on very specific criteria that included the vendors’ experience in safety-critical embedded software testing and the...Read full story »

Michael Dalpiaz, Development Manager, Imaging Systems, Sirona Dental

VectorCAST is a very important component in our embedded software development process allowing us to detect defects early and assure...Read full story »

Sven Natus, Manager of Software Development, Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe

Vector Software’s VectorCAST is the leading automated software test tool for safety critical embedded systems, targeting mil/aero, medical and transportation....Read full story »

Dan Mender, Vice President Business Development, Green Hills Software

Vector Software’s integration with VxWorks Cert Platform further extends VectorCAST’s support for the comprehensive capabilities of the Wind River Workbench...Read full story »

Joe Wlad, Senior Director of Product Management, Wind River

Big Thanks for this extra-ordinary service!!!Read full story »

Ronald L. Martinez, Information Technology, Raytheon Company

Vector Software's VectorCAST embedded software testing platform was identified as the ideal solution for developing critical software in compliance with...Read full story »

Dr. Stefan Kaneff, Managing Director, EUROS Embedded Systems

We decided to adhere to all the rules within MISRA and the QA.C tool made this extremely easy to achieve....Read full story »

Lee Jaques, Senior Software Engineer, Marshall Aerospace

We are very pleased to work with Vector Software. The VectorCAST integration with FreeRTOS provides a engineers with a professional-grade...Read full story »

Richard Barry, Director, Real time Engineers, Ltd.

Trinity is committed to bringing the most innovative and advanced technologies in safety critical software development. We are convinced that...Read full story »

Jeff Chen, Vice President, Trinity Technologies

Our confidence that VectorCAST will provide for our unit test needs is quite high and went beyond expectations.Read full story »

Ronald L. Martinez, Information Technology, Raytheon Company

Vector Software’s VectorCAST product suite is now more integrated with TI’s Code Composer Studio IDE than ever before, offering users...Read full story »

John Stevenson, Product and Applications Manager, Texas Instruments

With the time savings introduced by VectorCAST, final software development phases could be reached early, reducing the total project costs....Read full story »

Mauricio Ribeiro Barbieri, Software Engineer Manager, AEL Sistemas, A.S.

VectorCAST is the premier dynamic software analysis tool for embedded applications. We are very pleased that our partner, Vector Software,...Read full story »

Mats Ullström, Product Director, IAR Systems

Our test tool evaluation team considered a number of other applications for software testing. We ultimately chose VectorCAST for its...Read full story »

Larry Rogers, Avionics Software Manager, Aurora Flight Sciences

Overall, we reduced our testing effort 83% by using VectorCAST.Read full story »

Taeyoung Noh, Quality Assurance Manager NEOS Project, MDS Technology

We are enthusiastic about the integration and partnership with such a high caliber test automation company such as Vector Software....Read full story »

Regg Struyk, Product Manager, Polarion Software

The VectorCAST tools have greatly reduced the time it takes to fully test our code. VectorCAST/Manage allows us to...Read full story »

Stanislav Fligl, Core Team Leader, ŠKODA ELECTRIC

See how VectorCAST/RSP improves your bottom line and productivity

If you would like to see how VectorCAST/RSP can automate target testing in your exact testing environment, register today for a 30-day, fully-functional trial.

You may also contact Vector Software to arrange a demo for your project.