The Importance of Software Verification and Validation for Automotive Functional Safety

Bill McCaffrey

June 07, 2016

Competition in the automotive industry is intense. Successful companies must constantly innovate by introducing new features, many of which contain significant amounts of software. The automobile has been transformed from primarily a mechanical device, into an integrated machine with embedded software in all major systems including: engine control, power train, suspension, braking, and entertainment.

While not all automotive software is critical to the safe operation of the vehicle, systems that perform functional safety operations must be safe, secure, and reliable. Issues caused by malfunction of code can be prevented with software verification and validation testing. MISRA and ISO 26262 are the two software standards that apply to the verification and validation of vehicle-based software. 

How VectorCAST Supports MISRA Compliance
Static analysis has been a big part of the automotive application development process since the advent of the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA) C standard. “Guidelines for the Use of the C Language in Vehicle Based Software” is a document which was first published in 1998 to promote safe use of the C language in the automotive industry. It contains rules defining a subset of the C language that is now widely accepted as a model for good programming practice. “MISRA C++: 2008 Guidelines for the use of the C++ Language in Critical Systems” was published in 2008 to define similar rules for the C++ language.

VectorCAST/Lint is used to perform static source code analysis on C/C++ codebases and can automatically identify problems at their source prior to compiling. VectorCAST/Lint is configured for checking the MISRA C, MISRA C 2004, and MISRA C++ 2008 standards.

How VectorCAST Supports ISO 26262 Compliance
ISO 26262 is a Functional Safety standard currently under development, titled "Road vehicles -- Functional safety”. The standard is an adaptation of the Functional Safety standard IEC 61508 for Automotive Electric/Electronic Systems. Part 6 of the ISO 26262 standard addresses the recommendations for dynamic software testing and verification as part of the standard for software development.

VectorCAST/RGW permits the flow of data between a requirements management tool such as IBM® Rational® DOORS® and the VectorCAST testing tool. Through a simple and intuitive interface, developers can quickly link requirements to VectorCAST test cases.

VectorCAST/RSP enables the execution of a test harness on simulator or a target board. The process is entirely automated, so test cases can be executed individually or as a group by a simple click of a mouse or the command line. The execution itself requires no user input.

In addition, VectorCAST/Manage provides a completely automated regression testing facility for all VectorCAST generated tests.

TÜV SÜD Certified Tool for Safety Related Development
The VectorCAST product family is a TÜV SÜD certified software tool for safety related development. The TÜV SÜD assessment and resulting tool certification of the Vector Software products offer development organizations the required evidence to demonstrate compliance with ISO 26262. The Vector Software IEC Certification Kit for VectorCAST provides documentation, certificates, and templates that help you use VectorCAST on projects based on the ISO 26262 standard.

To learn more download our whitepaper: Using VectorCAST to Satisfy Software Verification and Validation for ISO 26262