Introducing VxWorks 653 on Arm architecture

15th May 2018
Anna Flockett

Whether building a new aircraft or designing new capabilities into industrial and medical control systems, choosing the right system software and hardware architectures is crucial for the success of the programme. 

Guest blog written by Stephen Olsen.

The aerospace and defence industry and the embedded community continue to shift towards adopting the latest hardware to solve challenging performance problems that address a variety of workloads.

To solve this challenge, avionics suppliers have been gravitating towards using a mixture of powerful commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware platforms coupled with standards-based open virtualisation platforms to extract value across multiple product lines, aircraft, and use cases.

Wind River is a trusted partner that supports customers on their digital transformation path. Having the highest levels of safety and security addressing the most challenging environments, Wind River’s VxWorks 653 Multi-core Edition is now available on Arm architecture. This allows customers to quickly adapt to changing business needs and respond to the growing desire for innovation and workload consolidation at fundamental levels, starting with the architecture upon which their safety-critical system is based.

With this latest release, Wind River brings its portfolio of safe and secure platforms to all the major hardware architectures. Having already added support for VxWorks 653 on Intel architecture earlier this year means that programs can save costs and accelerate time-to-market (TTM) by consolidating legacy and new applications on the hardware platform of their choice, while providing a safe and secure software foundation that is open, renders high levels of technology readiness and re-use, and lowers certification risks and costs throughout the entire product lifecycle.

The next-generation avionics and industrial systems can now be built using a standards-based, open virtualisation platform capable of running multiple operating environments across Arm, Intel, and Power processor architectures. VxWorks 653 is a certification-ready platform capable of abstracting and running any type of workload, including legacy and new, with multiple levels of safety.

Why is Arm architecture support important?
VxWorks 653 has been tested and validated on the Arm Cortex A53 (Xilinx UltraScale + MPSoC). Arm-based CPUs are found in both the edge computing and high-performance computing spaces, and Arm technology enables mission critical applications to run at the desired performance levels in a low SWaP envelope and cost-effective way. The ARM Cortex-A53 is one of the most widely used ARM 64-bit CPUs, and thus a perfect choice in terms of maturity for the defence, aerospace, and rugged embedded applications space.

“Arm has over 25 years’ experience in designing robust and efficient processors, including those specific to mission critical and safety-related sectors,” said Lakshmi Mandyam, VP automotive at Arm. “Our rigorous approach to the design and verification of products enables our partners to accelerate the time it takes to certify their products for safety. This allows them to focus on their own value-added code without compromising on the quality of their design.”

“With this newly added support for Zynq UltraScale+ MPSOC and RFSOC, VxWorks 653 Multi-core Edition now enables a cost-effective upgrade path for mission-critical defense applications and certifiable avionics platforms to port forward and take advantage of Xilinx’s state-of-the-art heterogeneous processing platforms.  Many legacy systems have been developed with significant NRE investment in software, and this latest VxWorks 653 version allows for reuse of existing code-base while taking advantage of combined software and hardware partitioning features to support high degrees of safety and security while simultaneously supporting integration of functions into a single-chip solution.  Xilinx’s Zynq UltraScale+ MPSOC and RFSOC are available with integrated quad-core Cortex-A53, dual Cortex-R5, Mali-400 GPU, 4k60fps H.265 video codec, 4GSPS ADCs, 6.5GSPS DACs, and fully-customisable programmable logic and IO with 32Gb/s transceivers.   This hardware capability when paired with VxWorks 653 Multi-core Edition opens a lot of options for mission critical and certifiable applications.” said David Gamba, Xilinx Senior Director of Aerospace and Defence markets.”

This release adds unmodified guest OS support and full 64-bit support for both the virtualisation layer, and guest operating systems, such as VxWorks 7 guest OS, and Linux guest OS. As microprocessor technology evolves, Wind River will continue to incorporate the best hardware support options available into its products and introduce safe, secure and reliable options for affordable mission-critical and safety-certifiable applications.

Wind River’s strategy is a multi-year commitment to customers, designed to bring its safe and secure software portfolio to a broad spectrum of airborne computers, industrial control systems and architectures.

Robust, open, multi-core consolidation platforms are here today. Avionics suppliers and device manufacturers can now design for the future with their choice of hardware architecture and an open virtualisation platform that will meet their needs.

Courtesy of Wind River.

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