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Linux Foundation Launches ELISA Project Enabling Linux In Safety-Critical Systems

February 22, 2019

The Linux Foundation launched the Enabling Linux in Safety Applications (ELISA) open source project to create a shared set of tools and processes to help companies build and certify Linux-based safety-critical applications and systems whose failure could result in loss of human life, significant property damage or environmental damage. Building off the work being done by SIL2LinuxMP project and Real-Time Linux project, ELISA will make it easier for companies to build safety-critical systems such as robotic devices, medical devices, smart factories, transportation systems and autonomous driving using Linux. Founding members of ELISA include Arm, BMW Car IT GmbH, KUKA, Linutronix, and Toyota.

To be trusted, safety-critical systems must meet functional safety objectives for the overall safety of the system, including how it responds to actions such as user errors, hardware failures, and environmental changes. Companies must demonstrate that their software meets strict demands for reliability, quality assurance, risk management, development process, and documentation. Because there is no clear method for certifying Linux, it can be difficult for a company to demonstrate that their Linux-based system meets these safety objectives.

“All major industries, including energy, medical and automotive, want to use Linux for safety-critical applications because it can enable them to bring products to market faster and reduce the risk of critical design errors. The challenge has been the lack of the clear documentation and tools needed to demonstrate that a Linux-based system meets the necessary safety requirements for certification,” said Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Programs at The Linux Foundation. “Past attempts at solving this have lacked the critical mass needed to establish a widely discussed and accepted methodology, but with the formation of ELISA, we will be able to leverage the infrastructure and support of the broader Linux Foundation community that is needed to make this initiative successful.”

ELISA will work with certification authorities and standardization bodies in multiple industries to establish how Linux can be used as a component in safety-critical systems. The project will also define and maintain a common set of elements, processes and tools that can be incorporated into Linux-based, safety-critical systems amenable to safety certification.

Additional project goals include:

•Develop reference documentation and use cases.

•Educate the open source community on safety engineering best practices and educate the safety community on open source concepts.

•Enable continuous feedback with the open source community to improve processes, and to automate quality assessment and assurance.

•Support members with incident and hazard monitoring of critical components relevant to their systems and establish best practices for member response teams.

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