MISRA celebrates 25 years since landmark guideline publication

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The MISRA consortium, a collaboration between manufacturers, component suppliers and engineering consultancies, is celebrating 25 years since the landmark publication of Development Guidelines for Vehicle Based Software.

The guidelines, and the revisions and amendments that have followed, have underpinned major improvements in vehicular software safety. The project’s success has seen the principles adopted by many other industries.

The MISRA consortium was conceived in the early 1990s as a project in the UK government’s SafeIT program to develop guidelines for embedded software in road vehicle electronic systems. Membership now consists of members from other industries in the safety-related embedded systems world, alongside automotive companies.

David Ward, founding member of the MISRA group, said, “In the late 1980s, the automotive industry had to adapt to more complex systems of embedded electronics in our road vehicles. Starting with the publication of our guidelines in 1994, we have been at the forefront of making sure our safety standards have developed hand-in-hand with the technological breakthroughs in the industry.”

From the introduction of the MISRA C guidelines in 1998 to the latest announcement of Guidelines for Automotive Safety Arguments in September 2019, the fingerprints of the consortium can be seen in three decades of automotive electronics development.

Outside of the automotive sector, the MISRA guidelines have supported the development of renowned technological projects. The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project C++ Coding Standard and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory C Coding Standards, as used on the Mars Rover missions, are both based on MISRA guidelines.

Dr Ward added, “It is a privilege, and a testament to the numerous people involved in MISRA, that we are still seen as the trusted authority. Our minds are now on the next 25 years and the role that the consortium has in providing guidelines for the next wave of challenges. We are now seeing vehicles with more emphasis on autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and other elements that add up to a much more complex electronic architecture.”

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