WIRRAL, UK: LDRA, the leader in standards compliance, automated software verification, source code analysis and test tools, has integrated the LDRA tool suite with National Instruments LabVIEW Virtual Instruments.
The LDRA-NI solution offers hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation, a technique used to develop and test the complex real-time embedded systems commonly found in military and aerospace designs. Thanks to LDRA’s expertise in safety-critical systems, NI’s hardware testing capabilities are fully matched with the software competencies necessary to achieve DO-178 certification up to and including Level A.
By using the joint NI hardware testing capabilities with LDRA’s software testing expertise, developers can simulate how a complete hardware-software system will react to real-life test conditions. Used in conjunction with NI’s hardware, LabVIEW Virtual Instruments creates a simulated system with an extensive range of capabilities for testing target hardware that includes signal generation, signal measurement, control actuation and real-time measurements. When these systems are exposed to an extensive range of test data, they simulate the responses of a system to the data, enabling developers to quickly identify the likely response of a target system under test.
The integration with the LDRA tool suite ensures that full software analysis is applied to the systems under test on the simulated target hardware. With the ability to test software systems up to DO-178 Level A, LDRA includes code standards enforcement, structural coverage analysis including modified condition/decision (MC/DC), object code coverage, unit testing, data and control coupling, and requirements traceability. The integration allows LDRA’s automated unit testing tool TBrun to generate inputs to and read outputs from LabVIEW Virtual Instruments, resulting in bidirectional control and data collection.
“The complexity of today’s avionics systems demands improved software-hardware validation systems,” confirmed Ian Hennell, LDRA Operations director. “Our joint solution supports the entire DO-178 process from requirements through to deployment, helping to eliminate or reduce the labor-intensive, error-prone elements of the process. For applications where system failure can result in loss of life or prohibitive financial burden, this method of testing is preferred. Companies cannot afford the risk of systems failures in such environments.”
He said: “A recent customer used the integrated LDRA-National Instruments solution to simulate aircraft control commands and sensor inputs and measure actuation signal outputs of the hardware unit under test. Our solution allowed developers to test identical instrumented executables and test harnesses on target hardware with actual data without testing the plane in the air. Not only does this testing substantially reduce the testing risk, but it greatly reduces the time needed for development, provides DO-178 certification evidence, and accelerates time to market.”
Test harnesses for customers using the integrated products can be run with the software fully simulated in LabVIEW or with hardware-in-the-loop using NI’s Reconfigurable Input/Output technology. Data is collected in one location, reducing expensive testing time by collecting test results for certification evidence in a single location. Also, on-target testing can be minimized because the same software tests can be run on both the simulated and actual target hardware using the same test cases.
With the integration of LabVIEW Virtual Instruments into the LDRA software test harness, standard-specific tests can be run. Although this rigor is commonly found in DO-178 applications, analogous medical and industrial qualification environments also demand extensive testing. LDRA’s standard-specific templates that streamline certification processes ensure that this level of testing competency can be extended and tailored to many industrial standards, such as ISO 26262, IEC 62304 and IEC 61508.