LDRA has extended the LDRA tool suite to support direct integration with Altera’s Embedded Design Suite (EDS) for Nios II soft core processors. Earlier, these processors lacked sufficient CPU and memory to be used in automotive, medical, industrial and avionics environments but with the Nios II family, entire chip sets can be replaced with an Altera FPGA, making them ideal for applications that must be certified.
LDRA’s integration ensures that standards such as DO-178B/C, MISRA and IEC 61508 can be verified and validated directly when using these soft core processors.
LDRA takes advantage of Nios II tool chain characteristics. Using the GNU GCC tool chain and Eclipse IDE to program the Nios II, developers can take advantage of soft core processors previously only available on ASICs with custom chip sets. LDRA leverages the host I/O capability of the GCC tool chain to create unit and system tests that transfer data back into the host processor seamlessly. Within the Eclipse environment, tests can be automated to load and execute, saving time during verification.
Screenshot 1: Invoking the LDRA Testbed analysis on an example source set from Nios II Embedded Design Suite
“Achieving certification is no easy task. The LDRA tool suite features templates tailored to specific industry and programming standards. These are delivered pre-populated with standard requirements, simplifying compliance for developers. LDRA’s verification strengths combined with a cost-reduced platform such as Nios II lower the cost of embedded systems in industries such as automotive, medical, and avionics, where such applications are ideal,” said Ian Hennell, LDRA Operations Director.
Screenshot 2: Executing an instrumented build for the target from Nios II EDS Eclipse-based IDE
Using the LDRA tool suite, companies can gain the validation tools needed to ensure that a software application produced on a Nios II platform is certifiable. As FPGA-based soft core processors achieve significant cost savings over custom hard core processors both in actual cost and the reduced amount of board design, the LDRA integration provides increased market opportunities for mission- and safety-critical developers wanting to take advantage of this Altera processor family.
The LDRA tool suite offers independent verification support across the full development lifecycle from certification objectives of standards, such as DO-178B/C, IEC 61508, ISO 26262, and IEC 62304, to requirements, code and target testing. LDRA’s ability to provide bidirectional traceability from requirements through model, code and tests allows development teams both to validate programming standards and automate their certification process.
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