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CS Canada Relies on LDRA tools to Certify Engine-Control Systems

LDRA tool suite: One of very few tools to offer instrumented systems-level testing

With aircraft, it’s the system, not just the software that must be certified. For CS Communications and Systems Canada (CS Canada), a company with expertise in DO-178 compliance for both software development and verification of engine-control systems for aerospace and defense OEMs, that presented a challenge.

“We needed tools that let us instrument everything on the integrated platforms we are developing,” commented Nandan Giri, Senior IPT Lead, CS Canada Certification Office. “Very few tools allow you to effectively analyse at a systems level.”

With a focus on platform-integrated, system-level testing. CS Canada needed tools capable of analysing DO-178 Level A structural coverage that also enforced programming standards. However, when the development team went looking for tools that accomplished this, they found most didn’t.

Identify Dead Code Early with the LDRA tool suite

The LDRA tool suite enabled CS Canada to instrument the entire system and then to use execution history files to analyse the behaviour of the entire system.

“Using the LDRA tool suite and doing integrated structural coverage analysis, we were able to guarantee there was no dead code,” confirmed Giri. “Because of LDRA’s many years providing DO-178 qualified tools for the embedded industry, we were able to do the same level of rigorous testing across the many different types of processors that make up an avionics engine-control system.”

CS Canada introduced structural coverage analysis into the very early stages of development as it provides a way to test whether high-level requirements have been met. As Giri says, “Up front verification enables us to identify dead code and provides feedback for the development process so issues can be fixed up front rather than at the end.”

Mistakes Found Early Cut Development Costs

CS Canada has made the LDRA tool suite part of its design and verification workflow. Not only do development teams ensure system-level requirements are met, but they use the LDRA tool suite to enforce MISRA compliance.

“We have used a subset of MISRA for years along with quite a number of additional rules,” noted Giri. “Our standards lined up with what existed in the LDRA tool suite out of the box. We were able to easily adapt the tool suite to check for our in-house rules as well.”

Giri added, “It’s all about preventing errors at an early stage. The LDRA tool suite not only helps us ensure that requirements are verified and the code is compliant, but documents the entire process so that we have a paper trail to present to prove compliance.”

The system-level approach of the LDRA tool suite automatically cross-links findings across the integrated platform. This level of documentation provides system-level traceability and the automatic generation of documentation adds to the savings CS Canada gains with the LDRA tool suite.

Additional Modules Evaluated to Improve Systems and Reduce Costs

“CS Canada uses LDRA for all its DO-178 projects,” stated Giri, “and we foresee continuing to use LDRA for all existing and new projects.”

In fact, CS Canada is currently evaluating several other LDRA products. Because optimized compilers can introduce errors, CS Canada is evaluating LDRA TBrun as a way to verify that the object code produced by the compiler also can be verified.

“LDRA tools are easy to use and integrate,” noted Giri. “We are evaluating several additional modules to see how they can help us improve our systems and reduce our development costs.”

CS Communications and Systems Canada

Established in 2000 in Montreal, CS Canada is a subsidiary of the CS Group, a leader in critical software design and testing in the Security & Defense, Space, Aeronautics and Energy domains.

CS Canada provides design, development and testing expertise on real-time, mission-critical, embedded critical systems, specializing in conformance to DO-178B, DO-178C or DO-254 standards. The company offers an integrated, comprehensive approach to meet customers’ software and systems challenges, and supplies innovative turnkey solutions to address the needs of each customer. Software Teams are based in Canada, and can be augmented with support from additional teams in France, Romania and India for larger scale projects.