The Challenge

In safety-critical fields, such as avionics, defense, medical, industrial, and others, the importance of graphics goes well beyond the user experience. Some safety-critical environments present even bigger challenges for designers of embedded systems. The constraints of performance, and system and life cycle cost come into play. In space-borne applications, radiation tolerance is mandatory, while in defense and commercial applications size, weight and power (SWaP) are optimized along with minimizing hardware obsolescence. These requirements make the use of many commercial-grade hardware graphics processor units (GPUs) less attractive, or even infeasible in some cases.

    IGL – An Efficient, OpenGL® Safety-critical Software Renderer

    IGL - OpenGL Safety-critical Software Renderer from ENSCO AvionicsENSCO Avionics’ IGL® product features both high-performance and high quality rendering tailored to efficiently present graphics in embedded systems.

    IGL offers application developers a platform-independent, scalable solution for embedded graphics that supports both accelerated and non-accelerated graphics subsystems with a single, consistent, cost-effective API.

    IGL is developed for graphics rendering in environments without a GPU. It communicates directly with a frame buffer attached to a hardware display port, i.e., VGA, XVGA, DVI, HDMI, etc., and features extremely fast and efficient performance with low size, weight, and power requirements. IGL implements the industry standard OpenGL® SC (safety-critical) standard, allowing many OpenGL-based applications to use it. IGL has no dependencies on other tools and can be used in conjunction with any application in which the OpenGL output conforms to the Khronos SC 1.0 standard.

      IGL: Fast, Efficient Performance with Low Cost

      • Low cost design and maintenance
      • Design flexibility without cost escalation
      • No life cycle risks and no graphics hardware requirement
      • Platform independent—can port single certificated software set to different platforms
      • Reduce power and heat requirements, and radiation tolerant
      • DO-178 certifiable

      IGL Applications

      • Partitioned secure memory environment, such as ARINC 653, to permit displays of various levels of criticality to be rendered to the same display frame
      • Rendered graphics data on small handheld devices, where power consumption is a significant factor
      • Environments with Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) concerns
      • Render overlays in conjunction with existing frame buffers, e.g., overlay symbology on live video streams
      • Use IGL in conjunction with a hardware GPU to offload the texture rendering commands. IGL then becomes a render engine to create textures for the GPU. This capability can be used to augment the performance of a GPU as well as insulate applications from reliance on vendor-specific OpenGL extensions.
      • Use IGL as a safety-critical render engine for space applications in rad-hardened environments where typical hardware GPUs fail.

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      ENSCO Avionics, Inc. and ENSCO Avionics Canada Inc. are wholly owned subsidiaries of ENSCO, Inc.