Altran uses Rapita tools to support on-target timing analysis

In a partnership driven by the ASC research project, Altran were given special access to RapiTime and the RTBx data logger. World leaders in engineering and R&D Services, Altran utilized Rapita’s expertise as an embedded specialist to help de-risk future embedded systems projects. Altran’s aim was to perform timing analysis of software as part of the continuous integration (CI) cycle. They would be generating minimum, maximum, average and worst-case estimate timings on the Texas Instruments TMS570ls3137 safety board (as a typical on-board system).

Project: The Braking Prototype

The braking prototype is a skeletal example of an automated train braking system: given braking parameters, speed and target distance, it calculates braking points, braking intervals and takes action if necessary, such as raising alarms and applying the emergency brake.

Integrating with Jenkins

This example represents a non-trivial application in terms of performance and timing, where the entire development is captured using CI tools and timing analysis. Using RapiTime, all execution and timing can take place on-target, with reports automatically generated. RVS can be integrated with Jenkins (an open source automation server) to generate a dashboard display of performance at each stage of the development, as illustrated above.

RapiTime and the RTBx

As well as forming part of their strategy for a specific research project, Altran also wanted to assess RapiTime and the RTBx as a solution to deploy across future turn-key projects. As part of the research project, Altran were provided with a free trial RapiTime license and a loan of an RTBx data logger. The RTBx is designed to collect and timestamp long streams of verification data from software tests run on embedded hardware. It is target-independent, supporting a wide variety of target architectures, and provides an excellent way of collecting trace data for use by RVS.

The Hardware:

  • Rapita RTBx: a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution for collecting long streams of verification data from tests run on embedded targets.
  • TMS570LS3137 board: a Texas Instruments processor board marketed for safety systems.
  • A secondary microcontroller chaperone board: in this case an Arduino Leonardo.
  • Master server: holds the Git repository, performs the building, controls the target board, and processes, stores and hosts results.
  • User development PC.

Hardware setup

The RTBx is connected to the server via Ethernet (it could be connected remotely). TMS570 is connected to the server via USB, requires Rapita Verification Suite (RVS) to build, instrument and communicate. TI software to flash the board and the chaperone microcontroller controls a pin on the TMS570 via wire. TMS570 board is connected to the RTBx by a wiring harness and proprietary breakout box.

What Altran had to say

“As a world leader in engineering and R&D services, Altran is always looking to partner with innovative solution-providers to deliver the best services we can to our customers. Partnering with an embedded systems expert like Rapita for this project is an excellent complement to our company profile. Their tools support on-target timing analysis and can be integrated into the continuous integration model we are using, as successfully demonstrated by this project.” - Stuart Mathews, R&T Manager - Altran UK

Who are Altran?

Altran is the undisputed world leader in engineering and R&D services. The Group offers its customers a unique value proposition to meet their transformation and innovation challenges. Altran supports its customers, from concept to industrialization, to develop the products and services of tomorrow. Altran has been working for more than 35 years with major players in many sectors: automotive, aeronautics, space, defence & naval, rail, infrastructure & transport, industry & consumer products, life sciences, communications, semiconductor & electronics, software & internet, finance & public sector. The acquisition of Aricent expands the Group's portfolio of expertise in semiconductors, digital experience and design innovation. Altran generated €2.9 billion in revenue in 2018, with nearly 47,000 employees in more than 30 countries.

More on the ASC Project

ASC is an R&D project led by Rapita Systems which aims to increase the amount of software that can be executed in safety-critical embedded systems such as jet engines to support increased functionality, reduce project costs, and delay expensive hardware upgrades; this work is funded by NATEP. Other partners in the project include Altran UK, BAE Systems, BSC, GE and Rolls Royce.

Find out more at: ASC: Airborne Software Capacity

Leaders in aerospace research projects

Rapita Systems have a long history of participating in cutting-edge research projects, developing technology that helps to lower certification costs in the safety-critical domain. These projects have enabled us to accelerate the development of our best-in-class toolsuite, including RapiTime, our timing analysis solution.

Contact us to discuss your timing analysis needs.