infoTECH Feature

October 09, 2019

In Pursuit of Supporting Advanced Real Time Computing Solutions Wind River Goes Cloud-Native

Marking a third decade of pioneering in embedded software systems and solutions, Wind River this week announced a new first, rolling out the latest version of their VxWorks Real Time Operating System (RTOS) which they claim is the “first and only” with support for C++17, Boost, Python, and Rust technologies.

Known for their large base of industrial customers and partners in the Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Energy, Industrial, Medical, and Networking & Communications sectors, Wind River introduced VxWorks in 1987, and since then has adapted their approach along the continuum of closed and proprietary to open and interoperable, noting that this latest version has been engineered to appeal to developers creating cloud-first, cloud-native software solutions.

Wind River’s products, including the flagship VxWorks, are used in industrial and transportation systems including factory automation, robotics, rail transport and smart grids. The company has a long history working with government agencies contributing to military systems including unmanned vehicles and highly secure military communications.

Their software is embedded into telecommunication infrastructure equipment including routers and can be found in electronic automotive systems including in-vehicle infotainment, digital cluster displays, telematics, and braking systems. The products their software powers range from every day consumer devices including digital cameras, projectors and set-top boxes, to the most sophisticated aircraft and aerospace systems in the world and in space, including Mars rovers MER-A and MER-B.

“As the industry rapidly adapts to address the automated to autonomous transformation, and to attract a new generation of developers trained with cloud-native skills, there’s demand for a more modern development approach that enables engineers to use today’s mainstream tools and programming languages for innovating,” the company’s announcement said. “VxWorks now empowers developers of all backgrounds with popular programming languages and libraries, along with cloud-based development tools and infrastructures to create a new era of mission-critical applications that require the highest levels of security and safety.”

Wind River is evolving along with their impressive line-up of customers, supporting the digital transformations of companies including Airbus Group, BAE Systems (News - Alert), Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, GE, Honeywell, BMW, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Ford, Johnson Controls, Mitsubishi, Rockwell Automation, ExxonMobil, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Emerson (News - Alert) Electric and more.

Their code is embedded into medical systems ranging from GE Healthcare to Olympus, Toshiba Medical, Varian, Dräger Medical, and Stryker, and sits inside of telecommunications networking equipment from Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Ciena, Ericsson, Hitachi, HP, Tellabs, Fujitsu (News - Alert) and others.

Their latest release is LLVM-based (LLVM is an acronym that stands for “low level virtual machine” and refers to a compiling technology called the LLVM project, which is a collection of modular and reusable compiler and toolchain technologies).

Wind River is staking their claim to a several new “firsts” calling VxWorks in its latest instantiation the “first and only real-time operating system to support C++17, Boost, Python, and Rust collection of technologies, along with continued support for languages like Ada and SPARK.” Included in the latest release are open source board support packages (BSPs) such as Raspberry Pi and TI Sitara AM65x for quick prototyping, and OpenSSL 1.1.1 for the most up-to-date cryptography libraries.

“Next generation design goals for autonomous and intelligent systems require new technologies for optimized development,” said Chris Rommel, executive vice president, VDC Research, in conjunction with Wind River’s announcement.  “Just as important, however, is the need to align development platforms with the evolving skill sets of today’s engineers. Building on its long-established foundation serving mission-critical systems, Wind River’s new release of VxWorks addresses both of these issues for next generation system development.”

“Demonstrating our commitment to RTOS innovation, Wind River is disrupting and redefining the embedded development paradigm with VxWorks, making development simpler, thereby driving more productivity,” said Michel Genard, vice president of product, Wind River. “Today’s RTOS must embrace modern development practices; this means being compatible with popular frameworks, languages, and methodologies being used today by developers, without compromises on security, safety, performance, and reliability.”

Wind River’s customers joined the company in marking the new milestone, with Rick Kephart, VP of software development for Emerson’s power and water solutions business saying, “We’ve been developing embedded systems for years and Wind River has been right there by our side with VxWorks. As we focus on embedded analytics, the support of Python and other popular programming languages for VxWorks will help us attract new talent and maximize our productivity so that we can continue to provide data-driven intelligence and decision-making support to enhance our customers’ operations.”

Other customer affirmations include:

“We are pleased with our close technical and business collaboration with Wind River and their continued commitment to deliver safe, secure, and reliable real-time operating systems. This latest release of VxWorks complements our strategy to deliver the best commercially developed secure, certifiable multi-core systems for our mutual aerospace and urban air mobility customers." 

Greg Tiedemann, Director of Product Management, Mercury Systems

Curtiss-Wright (News - Alert) has a long history of partnering with Wind River and supporting the VxWorks RTOS on our field-proven COTS hardware trusted by customers worldwide. Providing our customers with reliably deployable solutions for their safety- and security-critical embedded computing systems is at the core of what we do. Wind River’s dedication to enhancing safety and security, as evidenced in the latest VxWorks release. What’s more, Wind River’s support for the latest cryptographic libraries and C++ standards allows customers to accelerate secure systems development with best-of-breed practices and libraries, which mirrors our commitment to reducing our customers’ time to market with secure and trusted solutions.”

Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, defense and power at Curtiss-Wright

“This release of VxWorks allows customers to satisfy their safety and security concerns while also allowing them to benefit from innovations in languages and advanced frameworks. CodeSonar aligns well with VxWorks, with its support for Python, C++17, and Boost, as well as strong security validation and safety certifiability.”

Mark Hermeling, Senior Director of Product Marketing, GrammaTech (News - Alert)

“We are happy about our close collaboration with Wind River. The continued excellent quality of their real-time operating system makes it an ideal foundation for many industrial controllers. The latest release of VxWorks offers us and our customers new development possibilities and better overall performance on CODESYS-compatible devices.”

Roland Wagner, Head of Product Marketing, CODESYS Group

 “The latest release of VxWorks will complement the joint OTA (over-the-air) software update and data management solution we’re integrating with Wind River, providing a safe, secure, and reliable operating system foundation for the end-to-end software development life cycle.”

Keefe Leung, Vice President of Product Management, Airbiquity.

“The embedded market has never before looked so intensely at cost-effective alternatives to traditional C-based development methodologies. With its latest VxWorks release, Wind River is demonstrating its deep understanding and ability to support this unique evolution of the state of the art. We are proud to be associated with this effort, and to be providing support for Ada and SPARK technologies as part of the mix of options available to one of our oldest and most trusted partners.”

Quentin Ochem, Lead of Business Development, AdaCore.

"The latest VxWorks release addresses the same market demands that RTI encounters, such as support for modern languages and frameworks. We are pleased to be working with Wind River to provide our mutual customers with an advanced, high-performance development environment for building secure mission-critical distributed systems with Connext DDS." 

David Barnett, VP of Products and Markets, RTI.

“This release of VxWorks will enable developers of next generation ADAS systems to integrate the most advanced vision and machine learning solutions using OpenCL and SYCL, the Khronos open standards programming frameworks. Wind River has already achieved great results using our ComputeAorta and ComputeCpp products and together we continue to build an excellent ecosystem for automotive application development.”

Charles Macfarlane, VP of Marketing, Codeplay Software

“Our work with Wind River is driven by the need to develop advanced driver monitoring systems and better in-cabin experiences as the future of mobility takes shape. This release of VxWorks complements our strategy to ensure safer and more enjoyable transportation through in-cabin sensing AI that measures what’s happening with people in a vehicle.”

Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, CEO and co-founder, Affectiva


Juhi Fadia is an engineer, analyst, researcher and writer covering advanced and emerging technologies.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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