Safety Engineering with COTS components

O'Halloran, Mark; Hall, Jon G. and Rapanotti, Lucia (2017). Safety Engineering with COTS components. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 160 pp. 54–66.



Safety-critical systems are becoming more widespread, complex and reliant on software. Increasingly they are engineered through Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) (Commercial Off The Shelf) components to alleviate the spiralling costs and development time, often in the context of complex supply chains.
A parallel increased concern for safety has resulted in a variety of safety standards, with a growing consensus that a safety life cycle is needed which is fully integrated with the design and development life cycle, to ensure that safety has appropriate influence on the design decisions as system development progresses.
In this article we explore the application of an integrated approach to safety engineering in which assurance drives the engineering process. The paper re- ports on the outcome of a case study on a live industrial project with a view to evaluate: its suitability for application in a real-world safety engineering setting; its benefits and limitations in counteracting some of the difficulties of safety en- gineering with COTS components across supply chains; and, its effectiveness in generating evidence which can contribute directly to the construction of safety cases.

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