Modern specialist vehicles rely on safety critical systems that offer higher survivability for the vehicle and the crew. Currently safety critical systems are installed and maintained by the same manufacturer throughout the vehicle’s life. These are built on proprietary technology that only the manufacturer has access to, thus limiting the choices of maintenance and upgrades. Furthermore, existing safety critical systems are limited at communicating with other on-board systems resulting to a vehicle having multiple instances of the same equipment (e.g. GPS sensor).This presents a number of issues including having network complexity and reduced flexibility in vehicle systems configuration depending on operational requirements.
The aim of the project is to develop an innovative architecture that allows components from different manufacturers to be integrated, paying particular attention to safety and security. When building a safety critical system, the system designer should have the freedom to choose components that fit appropriately to the intended use as well as enable integration to any legacy safety critical systems or sensors/actuators that exist on-board the vehicle.
This resulted in a new safety critical architecture for specialist vehicles with an open and modular design offering flexibility in configuration, upgradability, and integration. It is highly likely that this approach will offer more competitive safety critical procurement and certainly enhance platform rapid deployment and availability.