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Functional safety software: coding for the unexpected

June 13th, 2017 by Silviu Stefanescu in Automated testing, Automotive, Embedded, Software Development, Tremend

Functional SafetyWhen the Ariane 5 rocket exploded mid air in June 1996, only 36 seconds after its test launch, the software aboard the spaceship was working within official specifications. Still, it was a software error that had caused the disaster: an attempt to convert a large 64-bit floating point number (representing the horizontal velocity) into a 16-bit integer. The ensuing integer overflow led to a sequence of errors that caused the vehicle to lose direction and crash. An investigation concluded that the software had done its job. The problem was actually rooted in software design and incomplete testing specifications.   Read the rest of this entry »