Zephyr Project RTOS – First Functional Safety Certification Submission for an Open Source Real Time Operating System

By | Blog

Written by Amber Hibberd, PhD. Functional Safety Engineering Manager at Intel and a member of the Zephyr Project 

A free, open source RTOS… that aims to be safety-certified!

The continued growth of connected devices has exposed a clear gap in the IoT market: the need for a free, permissively licensed, open source real time operating system that has achieved functional safety certifications from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The Zephyr Project aims to meet this need and plans to be the first in this category to submit its core OS, encompassing the kernel and OS services of the long term support (LTS) release for certification. These certificates are important as they indicate a product has undergone careful review and testing and is deemed trustworthy in safety-related systems.


According to the IEC, “Functional safety relies on active systems, for example the detection of smoke by sensors and the ensuing intelligent activation of a fire suppression system.”* Additionally, “Functional safety is intrinsically end-to-end in scope in that it has to treat the function of a component or subsystem as part of the function of the entire automatic protection function of any system.”**

Another aspect is the degree of safety provided. The IEC defines safety integrity levels (SIL), and ISO specifies automotive safety integrity levels (ASIL). Essentially, these measure the probability of dangerous failure. The IEC 61508 standard defines four levels, with SIL 4 the most dependable and most stringent. Zephyr RTOS will target SIL 3 for hardware systems that include Zephyr software. This addresses the vast majority of device use cases designed for functional safety. Specific to automotive, we will submit for ISO 26262 ASIL D to qualify for use in many autonomous automotive systems.


Zephyr certification scope is for the core OS, encompassing the kernel and OS services, across select architectures. Zephyr has a number of RTOS elements that remain out of scope for the first submission, like platform drivers, board support packages, platform specific power management implementation, file system and sensor driver implementations.

The Zephyr Project has begun working through the challenge of developing a functional safety certified RTOS in an open source environment. We’re working with a certification authority to ensure we have the foundation in place for submission. A key aspect of open source is to invite community contributions. We are modifying our development processes to retain community involvement while also ensuring tight process control and development tool analysis needed for high integrity code. Open source can, in some cases, be safer due to the transparent nature of the development and the number of eyes on the code coming from diverse community perspectives.

Zephyr RTOS functional safety assessment is happening in 2 phases: the concept review and functional safety management phase, and the detailed test phase. Phase 1 covers, for example, Zephyr software safety requirements and architecture specifications, as well as verification and validation plans. Phase 2 covers testing at all levels of the software (e.g., software module, software integration), fault injection testing, and coding guideline compliance. In the end, certification will establish software fault avoidance and control measures to the target integrity level.


Our LTS release will be available to developers mid-year. This is a great way to begin testing and prototyping on the cert submitted code. Once we complete the certification, product designers can use the final Zephyr OS kernel that is safety compliant to create their system of hardware and application software. This will shorten the path when building a product requiring functionally safe environments.

We look forward to supporting industrial, automotive, smart city and other product developers as they integrate the Zephyr RTOS into their safety-driven solutions. Contact us through the Zephyr website for more information on our free, safety-certified RTOS. We would love for you to use our code in your products!

To learn more or ask questions, sign up for the Zephyr Project Slack Channel: Or, if you’re attending Embedded World on February 26-28, visit the Zephyr Project booth ( Hall 4: Stand 4-170) to ask questions and to see live demos.

Tech Radar: Open source may be the key to securing IoT

By | News

As a society, we like things that are smart. Your TV, phone, thermostat, even your water bottle now tracks your habits and interacts with you via applications.

We demand that our connected devices do more for us, collecting data to help us make more informed decisions, offer us more options, and just be downright better. Unfortunately, far too often in the quest to gain more features from our various devices, security concerns are lost along the way.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices face risks that the industries producing them are generally unprepared to deal with. Time after time, we see new breaches that target vulnerabilities in IoT products which should make us increasingly cautious about buying them, with good reason.

However, given the market trends, IoT looks like it is the wave of the future, so we need to define the challenges and find ways to make it more secure.

Read more at Tech Radar.

New Year, New Milestones: What to Expect from the Zephyr Project in 2019

By | Blog

In this new blog post, Amy Occhialino, the Zephyr Project Governing Board Chair, shares a preview of what’s to come in 2019.

As we look forward into 2019, the Zephyr Governing board is excited about two major project milestones.  First, we will release our first Long Term Support (LTS) version in the first quarter.  This release will include new and enhanced features and will continue to solidify Zephyr’s presence as a viable long-term open source solution in the embedded real-time operating system market.

Secondly, the Zephyr project will be pursuing the Functional Safety (FuSa) certification of its core operating system.  This certification process will continue to grow Zephyr’s industrial solution applications and we will communicate FuSa milestones and features as they are developed and achieved over the course of 2019.

Here’s to a fantastic New Year!  We really appreciate all of the hard work and dedication from the Zephyr community that makes the project such a vibrant and growth-focused open source project.  Please continue to look to our new communication channels like Slack for further information on both our LTS release and FuSa activities.

To sign up for the Zephyr Project Slack Channel, click here:


Zephyr OS on display at CES

By | Blog

Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time to get ready for the annual CES show in Las Vegas, Nevada! This year, Zephyr Project members NXP and Nordic Semiconductor will be on-site at the conference to show off their latest IoT innovations throughout the conference’s duration from January 8 to January 11. We invite attendees to stop by their booths (Nordic – booth 4459 at The Sands, Halls A-D and NXP – booth CP-18 in the Central Plaza) to experience interactive demos, meet with knowledgeable developers and learn more about their technology.

Nordic will be on-site to showcase several exciting demos including their Zephyr OS backed IoT devices based on their nRF91 Series. The devices have a Cortex-M33 with Trustzone, and can be utilized through the secure implementation of MCUBOOT.

The demo will be connected to Nordic’s cloud platform through cellular network and will display the position of the demo and log messages.

Additionally, Nordic will demo unique nRF9160 System-in-Package, bringing cellular IoT to any application, will make its show debut following global availability at the world’s leading consumer electronics show. In addition, the award-winning nRF52840 Bluetooth LE/Bluetooth 5 SoC will demonstrate concurrent protocol support. Other demonstrations include asset tracking, LTE-M gateways, and Thread sensors. To learn more, click here:

Zephyr member NXP will also be on-site to showcase how their IoT solutions impact a variety of industries including automotive, wearables, manufacturing/IIoT, retail, and AI.

An excerpt from the NXP blog shares some exciting demos being featured in their booth (CP-18 in the Central Plaza) as follows:

  • Smart Tour: Check out NXP’s “AI ML Life on the Edge” showcase.  Visitors can experience a guided tour and personalized demonstration of NXP edge computing solutions with technical consultants to explore the benefits of face and voice recognition, anomaly detection, lifecycle intelligence & security, and scalable edge technologies.
  • Smart Automotive: Experience a concept car that can separate its pod from the chassis to enable ultimate flexibility and uses, whether shared, owned or rented. Get a tour of breakthrough safe solutions across all vehicle domains – connectivity, driver replacement, in-vehicle experience, body and comfort, powertrain and vehicle dynamics connected through gateways and vehicle networks.
  • Smart Industry: See how edge computing solutions are reducing costly data transfer to the cloud for global supply chain systems. Learn how 5G access and real-time iMX processing is increasing throughput while making the factory floor smarter and safer.
  • Smart Home: Discover how purpose-built edge solutions connect modern homes to cloud-based services more efficiently than ever. From voice-controlled smart appliances to innovative hearables technology, NXP is increasing comfort, affordability, and convenience for smart home device makers and giving the industry something to talk about.
  • Smart Retail: NXP will unveil the “Smart Market,” a new, highly interactive and personalized shopping experience made possible through NXP’s broad portfolio and collaboration efforts with some of the biggest brand names including Kraft Heinz and Gevalia Coffee,The Coca-Cola Company, and Mammut and smart infrastructure partners like Stora Enso, Opticon, Decathlon, Kathrein Solutions,Ingenico and TPG Rewards. Together with its partners, NXP demonstrates how Smart Retail can go mainstream, and Smart Market visitors will have the opportunity to experience, first-hand, how high-tech retail is completely transforming the shopping experience of tomorrow with intelligent refrigerators, personalized signage, interactive branding and true self-checkout experiences.
  • Smart Audio:  Visit NXP’s smart audio demonstrations which include the latest in immersive sound, multi-assistant voice speakers, and 3D audio.