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Operating Systems for Robotics and Automation

Ensure reliability and reduce development time with real-time embedded software from BlackBerry QNX

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QNX Embedded OS for Robotics & Automation

Whether you’re designing autonomous applications for a smart factory or building collaborative robots, your equipment needs to run reliably 24/7. Designing a real-time production system with Linux® and the Robot Operating System (ROS) is more difficult than many developers expect. Consolidating multiple functions and operating systems on a single system-on-chip (SOC) brings opportunities to lower hardware costs even with increased software complexity. 

Let BlackBerry® QNX® manage time-consuming OS development and maintenance – and free your developers to focus on innovations and features that drive revenue.

BlackBerry QNX offers a broad range of safety-certified and secure embedded software solutions, complemented by world-class engineering services, to help developers of robotic or autonomous products ensure system reliability, accelerate time-to-market and reduce development costs.

What You Need

Equipment failure can cause injury and revenue loss. Reliability is essential for robots and automated systems. Unfortunately, you can’t prioritize or precisely schedule critical functions in a monolithic OS, and a problem with a driver or application can crash the whole system.

The QNX microkernel architecture, real-time determinism, and separation mechanisms, such as adaptive partitioning, provide unmatched responsiveness and reliability for your equipment. In addition, QNX® Hypervisor allows you to consolidate multiple operating systems on a single system-on-chip (SOC) for increased flexibility and lower hardware costs. 

Linux and ROS are popular for prototypes, but compliance with safety standards – such as IEC 61508 (industrial), ISO 26262 (automotive), IEC 61511 (process instrumentation) and IEC 62304 (medical) – is more complex and costly with an open source OS. Plus, dealing with OS maintenance can pull your best developers away from new product development.

BlackBerry QNX products are POSIX-compliant, and we have ported a broad range of open source projects – including Linux, OpenCV, Boost, and Tensor Flow – into the QNX platform. BlackBerry QNX supports a full implementation of ROS Core, several ROS packages, and common open source libraries used by ROS. Developers ramp up quickly on QNX OS, as it looks and feels like Linux, and uses the same tools, such as the GNU compiler collection (gcc). Plus, BlackBerry QNX offers board support packages (BSPs) to help streamline your development timelines.

A breach of robotic or automation systems can put customers, bystanders and your company at risk, so security needs to be built-in across the entire system, including your OS. In addition, your robot may need to operate successfully in a demanding environment – from an IEC 80001-conformant healthcare IT network to a battlefield.

BlackBerry QNX solutions provide a layered approach to security that won’t hamper functionality or performance. For example, there are more than 70 options to restrict what each process can do, and root-level access is removed by default. In addition, over-the-air (OTA) software updates, a secure supply chain, managed PKI authentication, FIPS-certified encryption, and cybersecurity services provide you with essential building blocks to create a secure device. 

For an organization with many product lines, reusing application and driver code across products and lines of business can allow you to scale your software development program to deliver new product introductions (NPI) faster – and drive more revenue.

When you use the QNX RTOS and software stack, you can offload OS creation and maintenance. By standardizing on a single platform, you can reuse code, including drivers and applications, across product lines. The result can be a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than with an open source OS. Plus, with POSIX compliance, switching to QNX is not a big lift. The result can be an efficient and more scalable engineering operation.

Safety certification is a huge burden – and an almost insurmountable challenge if you use software of unknown provenance (SOUP), such as Linux. In addition, robotic and automation equipment need to boot up quickly, never crash, and ensure that the highest priority applications run first. Using a safety-certified OS or hypervisor can significantly reduce the complexity, cost and length of your embedded system certification processes.

QNX® OS for Safety is certified for use in applications requiring IEC 61508 Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3) and IEC 62304 compliance up to Class C. BlackBerry QNX solutions are built with a focus on safety and the real-time determinism needed for safe robotic and automation systems. 

How BlackBerry QNX Can Help 

Manufacturers of real-time control systems and human machine interfaces (HMIs) trust BlackBerry QNX for their robots and autonomous systems. BlackBerry QNX solutions are used in hundreds of critical robotic systems, including battlefield robots, autonomous warehouse robots, retail applications and manufacturing. Learn more about these BlackBerry QNX solutions for your embedded systems:

QNX OS for Safety

Optimize performance and achieve functional safety

Pre-certified to IEC 61508 SIL 3 and IEC 26262 at ASIL D, QNX OS for Safety is a POSIX-compliant, multicore, real-time OS (RTOS) for building safety-critical equipment. QNX OS is supported by field-proven development tools, feature-rich middleware and engineering services. BlackBerry QNX also offers a non-certified version of our embedded operating system. 

QNX Hypervisor for Safety

Consolidate multiple OS on a single SoC

Pre-certified to IEC 61508 SIL 3 and IEC 62304 Class C, QNX Hypervisor is a real-time Type 1 microkernel hypervisor that provides the trusted reliability and performance of the QNX OS while also allowing multiple operating systems to safely co-exist on the same system-on-chip (SoC). BlackBerry QNX also offers a non-certified version of our hypervisor.

Engineering Services

Bring products to market faster

BlackBerry QNX global engineering services help bring safe, secure and reliable products to market on time, on budget and with quality. With a 40-year proven track record, full-stack expertise and flexible engagement models, we can fit your needs. 

Safety and Security Services

Achieve certifications and improve security

The BlackBerry QNX engineering services team has deep knowledge of safety and security and a near-100% success rate in achieving safety certifications with our customers. With a long legacy in security, BlackBerry has the expertise and solutions you need to secure both systems and supply chains. 

Find out how BlackBerry QNX can help you improve system reliability and reduce development time.

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Technical Resources

QNX Board Support Packages (BSPs)
QNX Product Certifications
Free Trial
30-Day Evaluation of QNX® Software Development Platform
Get a head start on developing your robotics system