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Modernising legacy systems in aerospace, automotive, industrial

Wind River announces the release of Wind River Helix Virtualization Platform (Helix Platform)

The offering combines the company’s commercial real-time operating system (RTOS) and embedded Linux distribution into an edge compute software platform, and allows other operating systems to run unmodified within the same framework, providing a software development environment across the Wind River portfolio.

From modernising aerospace platforms to updating industrial infrastructure and advancing autonomous driving, the rise of more sophisticated edge computing across industries means that system developers will need to adapt quickly to modern software and cloud deployment practices, while maintaining dedicated, long-standing software. 

This paradigm shift to a more modern development approach will bring benefits in terms of flexibility, scope of applications and manageability. 

But it also brings new design challenges and uncertainties in terms of the pace of change, hardware and software technology choices, as well as future-proofing. 

As critical infrastructure also become more intelligent, with various forms of artificial intelligence running on edge devices, further layers of complexity and uncertainty are being introduced.

Developers need to know they can meet current project and compliance requirements, and plan their roadmaps, without having to make disruptive changes in the future if new hardware, software, frameworks or cloud services are needed. 

Helix Platform means legacy software can remain unchanged while running alongside new applications, and it provides all the benefits of a consistent, scalable and agile platform for edge devices.

Helix Platform addresses a wide range of critical infrastructure development needs, from highly-dynamic environments without certification requirements, to highly-regulated static applications such as in avionics and industrial, as well as systems requiring the mixing of safety-certified applications with non-certified ones, such as in automotive. 

It maximises ROI and total cost of ownership (TCO) by increasing asset value and reducing operational costs with the following features:

* Robust time and space partitioning leveraging Wind River’s industry-leading RTOS and virtualisation technology, safety certified functionality, and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) certification evidence.

* Multi-operating system capabilities enable the consolidation of mixed-criticality workloads, side by side, on a single edge compute platform.

* Consolidation of multiple applications into one platform allows common edge devices to serve diverse system architecture needs, such as low latency control functions on an RTOS alongside Linux-based applications and frameworks, such as machine learning.

“The industry is moving in a direction of heterogeneous systems where the development of many critical infrastructure systems requires both an open source Linux and a proven commercial RTOS, and Helix Platform offers the best of both worlds with VxWorks and Wind River Linux integrated in a single solution, from a single supplier,” said Jim Douglas, Wind River president and CEO. “Drawing from our rich proven technology heritage and unmatched safety expertise, Helix Platform is a critical building block for how we will continue to accelerate the evolution from automated devices towards more intelligent and autonomous systems.”

The offering comprises VxWorks along with its virtualisation technology, integrated with Wind River Linux and Wind River Simics for system simulation. It meets the stringent safety-certification requirements of the DO-178C, IEC 61508, and ISO 26262 safety standards.

Helix Platform is operating system-agnostic, providing the capability to run any unmodified guest operating system, such as Microsoft Windows, roll-your-own, and others.

It also provides multi-core hardware support and availability on the latest Arm, Intel, NXP, and Xilinx silicon platforms that enable both 32- and 64-bit guest operating systems.

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