Data acquisition system for railway diagnostics
Our client is an international leader in the production of safety and diagnostic systems used in the railway sector.
We were brought on board to develop a new version of their deployed system which suffered from serious stability problems, unresolved despite years of use.
Starting from architectural specifications and adhering to mechanical, electromagnetic and environmental constraints, we took charge of designing all the boards comprising the system. These boards were installed directly on the tracks and communicated via 100Mbit Ethernet.
We were also tasked with developing firmware with hard real-time requirements, responsible for interfacing with fast ADCs and controlling motors, thermostats and performing diagnostics.
- Thermal and environmental problems
- Planning for long lifespan of the product
- Stringent time constraints
- Easy to update firmware
- Heat sinks for power delivery components installed on gel pads
- Careful selection of components with an eye to future obsolescence
- A mix of HW and FW techniques to optimize for minimal latency
- Automatic updating a startup
Remote monitoring system development
- Design electronic boards with stringent mechanical and environmental requirements
- Implementation of firmware with hard real-time performance requirements
- Management of production
- Electronic schematics, master PCB
- Preliminary testing and validation
- Embedded real-time code in C
- Documentation for production and testing
- Very robust hardware
- Extremely configurable and flexible firmware
- Real-time performance
- Ease of production and testing
Advantages of our solution
- Resilience: thanks to a careful design, the hardware passed the necessary certifications (IS402) with flying colors.
- Flexibility: thanks to a single unified firmware, our hardware team was free to produce several revisions of the hardware, sometimes with significantly different components.
- Real-time: latency requirements were met thanks to meticulous architectural analysis and our firmware based on BeRTOS, our real-time operating system.
- Correctness: the use of python to create simulators and prototypes let us attain a high level of quality by simplifying firmware testing.
Advantages of our approach
All the hardware and firmware development was backed by agile methodology, test-driven development and Six Sigma. Our testing tools written in python, an excellent language for rapid prototyping, enabled us to avoid having to create expensive simulators for other components in the system that were unavailable at the time testing was carried out.
Advantages of open source
The firmware of each component in the system was built on top of BeRTOS, our open source real-time operating system. The language used for testing, Python, is also an open source product.
“A wide-reaching project with substantial contributions from Develer ranging from initial specifications through to deployment in the field.”