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MISRA C is a formal set of guidelines for developing automotive software using the C programming language. The Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA) of the UK governs the development of the MISRA C standards for software used in automobiles.
MISRA C includes “required” and “advisory” elements to protect automotive software from faults and failures. For example, some MISRA C standards involve the avoidance of failure-prone functions. There are also standards for debugging or for making debugging easy to do, including rules like clear commenting and code conventions. Developers have to meet a set of mandatory rules for MISRA C compliance. An initial addition to these rules was developed in 1998. A successive version came in 2004, and new versions have appeared in the past few years.
The purpose of MISRA C is to ensure the highest caliber of software operation for software programs used in vehicles because these programs can be very vital to the overall safety design of the vehicle. With automotive software, lives are on the line in ways that do not apply to desktop or laptop systems used in a non-mobile environment. MISRA C is one of the tools that planners use to develop safe software for automobiles.