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Auto-pilot and fault tolerance

Posted on 2006-05-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Medical systems and auto-pilots are good examples of systems where a very, very high degree of fault tolerance is needed. Do you know how fault tolerance is achieved for these types of systems?
Question by:Bellpm2006
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Accepted Solution

nexissteve earned 2000 total points
ID: 16666533
Two very separate examples.

Some legacy medical systems were not fault tolerant at all and relied solely on back ups.

Newer medical systems have clustered systems end to end.

Clustered File system.
Clustered database.
Clustered Transactional Application Server.
Clluster Web Service


The above link has a good example of a clustered service.

Auto-pilots. - I dont know a lot about auto-pilots "if you are meaning auto-pilots in a plane".

A better example would possibly be weapons, guidance and support systems on a nuclear submarine. These use solid state clustering. Each control point in the cluster has multiple CPUS and multiple chunks of memory. A CPU can fail withour effecting the control point. They can run the whole sub on one control point and each sub has dozens of the things.




Expert Comment

ID: 16666672

First apologies for entirely miss-answering your previous question!

As to this question you may find the following article useful:


It provides details of software fault tolerance in general, but also has specific examples of the systems used in the B777 Flight control computer, and the Airbus A320/A330/A340 Flight control computer

This is also an interesting, if slightly dated guide on fault tolerant software:

This article around software fault tolerance for critical spacecraft applications may also be relevant to you research.


I've never had a huge interest in medicine applications, so don't have any relevant links for you in that field.

As mentioned by the above poster it may be worth you looking at clustering etc as ways of providing some fault tolerance to applications that may not have been designed with that in mind from the ground up, although clustering etc might be classed more as hardware and O/S fault tolerance than strictly application fault tolerance.

Steve’s point on subs also looks like an interesting area for research!

hope the above is useful to you



Expert Comment

ID: 16668071
Hi Bellpm2006,

I'm pretty new to this (joined the site quite a while ago, but only started using it this week so I'm still getting used to the system.

Given that I feel I provided relevant information to your question, that was different to the other answer, I had expected the points to be split.

Should my answer not have been relevant could you give me a couple of pointers as to why to aid my future use of this site.



Expert Comment

ID: 16716934

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