Saarbruecken, Germany — 27 April 2005. AbsInt contributes to guaranteeing the safety of the A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
On April 27th, 2005, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, landed safely in Toulouse, France, after completing its maiden flight.
A key contribution to the A380’s safety was made by AbsInt, a German software developer located in Saarbruecken. The AbsInt team has succeeded in developing a software tool which guarantees that the flight control computer system always performs fast enough under all circumstances.
Today’s airplanes no longer feature a direct hydraulic link from the cockpit to the aircraft’s steering components. The hydraulic steering stick has been replaced by a digital steering stick. A flight control computer reads the input from the pilot and computes appropriate values for the steering components, taking the current situation, physics and aerodynamics of the aircraft into account.
It is critical that the flight control software always works within fixed time bounds. The lives of the crew and passengers alike would be at risk if the program couldn’t be depended on to always respond in time.
AbsInt’s solution to this is the aiT WCET Analyzer, a software program specifically developed by AbsInt to check timing behavior. The Analyzer is able to verify the proper response time of the control software of all components by computing the worst-case execution time (WCET) of all tasks in the flight control software. This analysis is performed on the ground as a critical part of the safety certification of the aircraft.
aiT’s potential is not limited to the avionics industry. Consider airbag control in today’s cars: triggering of airbags is controlled by software that is executed by a microprocessor integrated in the car. Deploying the airbag too late in an accident can have disastrous consequences. Static software analysis tools like aiT enable the safety of such critical applications to be improved.
The development of the aiT WCET Analyzer resulted in AbsInt being awarded the 2004 European IST Prize, the European Union’s most distinguished technology award for “groundbreaking products that represent the best of European innovation in information society technologies”.
AbsInt was founded in 1998 as a spin-off of the Department for Programming Languages and Compiler Design chaired by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Wilhelm at Saarland University. The company is located in Saarbruecken, Germany, and currently has a 23-strong team.
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