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Safety of Software-Intensive Systems from First Principles

Over the last several decades, the scale and complexity of critical software has increased by orders of magnitude. In cars for example, we have seen a tremendous growth from simple microcontrollers running a few thousand lines of code, to multi-function ECUs, advanced infotainment and driver assist capabilities; systems in a typical vehicle may involve over 100 million lines of code.

The international standards that are relevant to safety were mainly established long before this massive expansion took place. IEC 61508 and ISO 26262, for example, mainly describe approaches that are viable for less complex systems based on microcontroller architectures, but difficult or impossible to apply for modern systems involving multi-core microprocessors.

Many software and safety professionals recognise this challenge, and teams around the world are exploring how to assure safety in highly complex systems, by extending and improving upon existing methods, or by devising new ones.

Read our full report to learn more about the principles we believe should be applied to safety critical systems.

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