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MISRA provides world-leading best practice guidelines for the safe and secure application of both embedded control systems and standalone software.
MISRA is a collaboration between manufacturers, component suppliers, engineering consultancies and academics which seeks to research and promote best practice in developing safety- and security-related electronic systems and other software-intensive applications.
To this end, MISRA conducts research projects and publishes documents that provide accessible information for engineers and management.
MISRA also facilitates the dissemination and exchange of information between practitioners through supporting and holding technical events.
The origins of MISRA
MISRA started in the early 1990s as a project in the UK government’s “SafeIT” research programme, and developed guidelines for the creation of embedded software in road vehicle electronic systems. In November 1994 “Development guidelines for vehicle based software” was published. This document was significant representing industry consensus and also as the first automotive industry approach to functional safety, some 10 years before work started at the international level on ISO 26262.
After the funded project concluded, MISRA has continued work on a voluntary basis producing landmark publications such as MISRA C, MISRA C++ and the MISRA Safety Argument guidelines.
Since 2021 MISRA has been managed by The MISRA Consortium Limited, an independent not-for-profit entity.
MISRA C was originally developed to fulfil the need for a “restricted subset of a standardized programming language” identified in the 1994 “Development guidelines for vehicle based software” and against the background of the emerging use of C for developing embedded software in automotive applications.
Once MISRA C was published its relevance to other applications was quickly noted and subsequent revisions of the document have involved a number of experts from different industries and from tool vendors.
Today MISRA C is the de facto standard for developing software in C where safety, security and code quality are important. Future developments of MISRA C will continue to extend support for newer versions of the language, and additional language features.
MISRA C++ was originally published in June 2008 recognizing the growing use of C++ in critical applications. More recently work has commenced on a revision, and in 2017 it was announced that MISRA will integrate the AUTOSAR C++ guidelines in the new version of MISRA C++. The MISRA led guidelines will incorporate the latest version of C++ language – C++17 – and, when available, its successor C++20.