Build- and test-platform for prototyping and evaluating operating system concepts in real-time environments
Simple and easy to use prototyping platform for embedded real-time systems for a hassle free evaluation of operating system concepts in industrial applications (up to technology readiness level 7). With toki, developing, building, simulating, and flashing of embedded software is brought to the convenience level of Linux application development.
Typically, even low-level operating system concepts, such as resource sharing strategies and predictability measures, are evaluated with Linux on PC hardware. This leaves a large gap to real industrial applications. Hence, the direct transfer of the results might be difficult. As a solution, we present toki, a prototyping and evaluation platform based on FreeRTOS and several open-source libraries. toki comes with a unified build- and test-environment based on Yocto and QEMU, which makes it well suited for rapid prototyping. With its architecture chosen similar to production industrial systems, toki provides the ground work to implement early prototypes of real-time systems research results, up to technology readiness level 7, with little effort.
Currently, most applied real-time systems research prototypes are developed and evaluated on top of Linux on PC hardware. This leaves a large gap between real industrial applications in that field and the prototype. In case of low-level operating system concepts concerning, e.g., context switch times, resource sharing, intra-node communication, and predictability, the drawn conclusions could even be void due to the completely different nature of the industrial platform. Furthermore, we see a lack in practical examinations of which latency and how much temporal predictability is achievable with certain configurations (e.g., software architectures and predictability measures). Hence, we see the need to ease constructing early prototypical implementations of research results on relevant hardware in relevant environments.
Therefore, we see the need for a minimal, yet flexible real-time system framework that provides comfort similar to commercial platforms, but comes without a complex software architecture and strict inherent design concepts. Accordingly, toki provides a flexible and configurable operating system framework, close to production industrial systems, but without the hassle of complex software architectures.