Hitachi Rail STS France Chooses AdaCore Software Development Environment for its New Rail Platform

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Hitachi Rail STS (Signalling and Transportation Systems) France has selected an Ada runtime and a compiler targeting ARM processors from AdaCore for its CSD (Calculator of Available Safety) rail safety platform.

A single safety platform in CSD architecture

Hitachi Rail STS specializes in the design of systems ensuring the safe circulation of trains on railway lines and metro networks. In March 2017, it rolled out the interlocking management system of the Gare de Lyon in Paris as part of a renovation project commissioned by SNCF. This system is supported by a single safety platform that alone commands 170 switches, 115 light signals and 800 routes at any time and simultaneously. It is easy to see why this system requires a secure, reliable platform.

Technical challenges of modernization

In 2018, in response to the problem of obsolete equipment and the need for ever greater computing power, Hitachi Rail STS decided to modernize its safety platform with the goal of developing a platform compatible with the constraints of rolling stock and ground signaling.

The first targets were to equip the metro lines with a more efficient CBTC system as well as the renovation of the interlocking systems on high-speed rail lines. HitachiI Rail STS identified 2 key areas of focus in order to achieve its goal:

  1. Conduct logic synthesis on the 68K CPU in order to house the “voter” function of the CSD in the Processing System part of this component, thus making it possible to reuse the coded monoprocessor production chain of the existing voter software,
  2. Port the existing application software, developed in Ada 95, to an ARM Cortex-A53 processor in the Programmable Logic part.

AdaCore’s solutions

The constraints imposed by porting the application software to an ARM processor led Hitachi Rail STS France to contact AdaCore for possible solutions, including the choice of an Ada runtime and compiler targeted to ARM.

Hitachi Rail STS France chose AdaCore's Linux-hosted GNAT Pro Ada development environment, combined with a Ravenscar SFP runtime, based on several factors:

  1. The possibility of certifying the runtime according to the railway standard EN 50128;
  2. Access to a POSIX/Linux development environment that, when combined with Ada compilation tools, offers easy implementation of binary generation processes;
  3. The possibility of reusing Linux tools; and
  4. Access to various AdaCore tools, including:
    1. GNATcheck for coding standard application and verification, including complexity metrics.
    2. GNATemulator, making it possible to emulate an ARMv8 processor on a host system.

The new safety platform for the Wayside and On-Board projects

Development of this platform began in 2017 with the design of a new circuit board. The porting of the CSD software components came next, along with risk analysis and validation. One result was the creation of a documentary plan containing 200 references.

The main goal of Hitachi Rail STS France is to obtain EN 50128 certification for this new platform by the end of 2020.

About Hitachi Rail STS France

Hitachi Rail STS France employs approximately 600 people in France, the majority of whom are engineers and technicians involved in R&D, engineering, project management, manufacturing and maintenance.

Founded in 1902, Hitachi Rail STS France has developed the signaling and train control systems that contribute to the constant improvement in railway safety and capacity on main lines and mass transit railway systems all over the world.

In major international railway projects, in particular in Europe, Asia, and Africa, clients have called on Hitachi Rail STS France for its ability to deliver fail-safe systems on time and on budget. Being in close proximity to its clients, Hitachi Rail STS France can manage projects efficiently and accept their challenges, anticipating needs and offering innovative solutions.