WHAT IS A REAL-TIME OPERATING SYSTEM (RTOS)?

What is an RTOS?

A Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) is a specialized software designed to manage and execute tasks in real-time applications.

In the aerospace sector, precision and timing are paramount. An RTOS ensures that tasks are not only completed but executed within precise time constraints, making it a critical component in the world of aerospace engineering.

Characteristics of an RTOS

The characteristics of an RTOS are tailored to address the unique demands of real-time applications. Real-time task scheduling, minimal latency, and precise timing are fundamental features that set an RTOS apart. These characteristics ensure that aerospace systems operate with maximum efficiency and reliability, meeting the industry’s stringent performance standards.

RTOS VS OS

The Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) is crucial in system architecture, acting as a bridge between hardware and application software. The hardware’s foundational level includes the microprocessor, with the RTOS atop it. Board Support Packages (BSPs) and device drivers link hardware and RTOS. Application software serves roles like engine control or avionics display.

In essence, the RTOS acts as the cohesive element. Every aircraft system incorporates at least one RTOS or some form of executive software. This architectural framework extends beyond civil aviation, encompassing military aircraft and emerging markets such as Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

Why Use an RTOS?

In the aerospace industry, where reliability and precision are non-negotiable, an RTOS is indispensable. It ensures that critical tasks, such as avionics control and engine management, are executed with the highest accuracy and minimal delay. The deterministic nature of an RTOS guarantees consistent performance, making it an essential tool in applications where timing is of the essence.

RTOS Architectures

RTOS architectures are diverse, offering flexibility to meet varied system requirements. Whether it’s a single-tasking, multi-tasking, or multi-core configuration, the choice of architecture depends on the specific needs of the aerospace system. Understanding these architectures is crucial for tailoring the RTOS to the unique demands of aerospace applications.

Software Pain Points in the Aerospace Industry

High Costs for Developing Projects

Aerospace software has doubled in volume every 4-5 years since the 70s, accompanied by rising technological complexities. Meeting safety and certification standards has become challenging, leading to difficulties in containing software costs for aerospace companies.

Unaffordable COTS RTOS

The industry seeks cost-effective Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software, especially Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) in aerospace. However, existing certifiable RTOS options are relatively expensive, with a lifetime cost estimate surpassing $3-4 million USD for a typical 3-year development and 15-year production program.

Poor Customer Service

Despite high costs, top-tier customer support is often lacking with many market leaders. The Aerospace market is overlooked for faster-growing sectors, like automotive, resulting in inadequate product support. High expenses coupled with poor customer service create challenges for users.

Luckily, we developed the M-RTOS. The Real-Time Operating System solution supporting Multicore Microprocessors with robust partitioning based on ARINC 653 and certifiable to the highest industry standards.

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