Safety-Critical Rust Consortium Announced

Written by Michael Larabel in Programming on 12 June 2024 at 12:34 PM EDT. 52 Comments
In aiming to make the Rust programming language more suitable for safety-critical software like within automobiles, aviation, and other industries, the Safety-Critical Rust Consortium was announced today.

The Safety-Critical Rust Consortium is backed by the Rust Foundation and aims to foster responsible use of the Rust programming language within safety-critical software. This new industry consortium is backed by initial members including The Rust Foundation, AdaCore, Arm, Ferrous Systems, HighTec EDV-Systeme GmbH, Lynx Software Technologies, OxidOS, TECHFUND, TrustInSoft, Veecle, and Woven by Toyota.

A public charter and goals for the project are still being established. The consortium may work on guidelines, linters, libraries, static analysis tools, language subsets, and other pursuits to enhance the prospects of Rust within safety-critical systems.

A rusty safety-critical environment at Chernobyl...

The consortium is just getting off the ground now and thus no deliverables today but rather simply announcing the formation of this new effort by a group of relevant organizations interested in safety-critical systems. From today's announcement:
What is “safety-critical”? Rust is already safe!

Programming language safety refers to a language’s ability to prevent errors or undefined behaviors at compile time or runtime. On the other hand, "safety-critical" refers to a system’s ability to operate without causing accidents or catastrophic failures that will result in harm to people, property or the environment. So, while safety-critical systems rely on languages that emphasize safety and security, such as Rust, programming tools are only one component of the overall strategy.

Which industries are considered safety-critical?

Industries that are particularly concerned with functional safety include transportation (such as automotive, aviation, space), energy, life sciences, and more. Because of their potential impacts, these industries are often regulated, have liability considerations, and are guided by standards such as IEC 61508, ISO 26262, IEC 62304, and DO-178C. These industries have decades of experience delivering products, learning from iterating based on real-world feedback, and improving processes. An ecosystem of tools and tool vendors have evolved, and best practices have been learned to create a safety culture around tooling.

Learn more via the announcement on the Rust Foundation blog.
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