Safety critical graphics are a key component for industries such as automotive, avionics, medical and energy. As display requirements become more advanced, safety critical graphics APIs must evolve to meet the industries’ needs. Khronos has led the industry in developing graphics API standards for safety critical environments via its OpenGL SC Working Group, which released the OpenGL SC 1.0 specification in 2005,and the OpenGL SC 2.0 specification in 2016. Now, automotive and other industries are seeking advanced GPU graphics, compute and display functionality that can be deployed in safety critical systems.
In response to this industry demand, this new Khronos Working Group will create open, royalty-free API standards based on the existing Vulkan API specification to enable safety critical industries to utilize advanced graphics and compute acceleration. To best suit these market’s needs, the new API will aim to be compatible with industry standards for safety critical software, such as RTCA DO-178C Level A / EASA ED-12C Level A (avionics); FACE (Future Airborne Capability Environment) (avionics); and ISO 26262 ASIL D (automotive).
“Advanced graphics and compute functionality is being deployed into an increasing number of markets where safety is paramount, and so APIs designed to streamline the safety certification process are now a key part of Khronos’ standardization activities. OpenGL SC has been widely used in avionics systems, but now the wider embedded industry is demanding access to the latest GPU functionality. Vulkan is the ideal starting point for a new generation safety critical GPU API, as its driver architecture is significantly more streamlined than OpenGL, as well as offering increased control of device scheduling, synchronization, and resource management,” said Neil Trevett, president of Khronos.
With its primary technical focus being safety critical graphics and compute, the group will design for graphics and/or compute systems where failure would cause a significant increase in safety risk. The API may also expose common GPU functionality, including encoding and decoding of video bitstreams, display control, and the integration of graphics and video with platform window and display systems.
In addition to Working Groups responsible for generating API specifications, Khronos hosts the Khronos Safety Critical Advisory Forum (KSCAF), which is open to any organization to participate, with no charge or Khronos membership obligations. KSCAF gathers insights and best practices to create guidelines to aid the design of safety critical APIs across multiple domains, including avionics and automotive industries. All companies are invited to participate in KSCAF or join Khronos to get involved in the work of the Vulkan SC Working Group.
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