Bar Group Embedded Systems Safety

Barr Group has released the latest findings from its 2018 Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey regarding the state of embedded systems safety. Preliminary results show that only 1 in 4 safety-critical device developers are following all industry-recommended software development best practices for increasing safety. Overall there has also been little progress in the last three years in tightening design processes to improve the safety of devices that can kill or injure. With nearly 30 percent of embedded systems designers creating devices that can potentially harm end users in the event of malfunction, this lack of improvement is a major concern for the industry.

Completed by more than 1,700 qualified professional designers of embedded systems, the 2018 Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey assesses the state of product development practices of engineers from around the world (46 percent from North America, 33 percent from Europe, and 10 percent from Asia). While there have been some wins across the embedded systems industry overall — such as (1) greater numbers of developers of internet-connected devices including security as a product design requirement and (2) an increase in automating the enforcement of some coding standard rules — there has been no apparent progress in the specific area of safety-critical devices.

This year’s survey confirms that products in development have become increasingly complex, for example, having more microprocessors aboard, which opens the door wider to opportunities for product malfunction,” said Barr Group CTO Michael Barr. “It is disheartening to see that many designers of safety-critical systems continue to skip software development steps that are known to reduce the number of bugs and unplanned behaviors in embedded systems.”

Of the industry-recommended design practices highlighted in the survey, the following statistics are of greatest concern:

  • 43% don’t do regular code reviews
  • 41% don’t perform regression testing
  • 38% don’t comply with any safety standard
  • 33% don’t use a static analysis tool
  • 17% don’t follow any coding standard

“Of safety-critical embedded products currently in development, two out of three target the medical, industrial, automotive, and defense/aerospace industries,” Barr pointed out. “Moving forward, we hope that more developers will follow design practices known to be effective in maximizing the safety of end users.”

2018 Barr Group Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey Results at Embedded World

Join Barr Group at Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany February 27–March 1, 2018, for two special presentations by Barr Group CTO Michael Barr, highlighting more detailed results from the 2018 Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey.

The following presentations will take place at the OpenSystems Media Embedded Pavilion located at Stand 3A-507:

  • February 27, 2018 (11:00AM–11:30AM CET): 2018 Embedded Systems Safety Survey Results
  • February 28, 2018 (11:00AM–11:30AM CET): 2018 Embedded Systems Security Survey Results

The full analysis report is available for download at