Insights from Embedded World 2024: The Rise of RUST

From 9 to 11 April, 2024 Embedded World Exhibition&Conference gathered the international embedded community at the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg. Over 1,100 exhibitors from almost 50 countries presented their products, solutions, and innovations. Natalya Zheltukhina, Partner Network Manager at Sigma Software, DACH region, visited the event to get the latest news, insights, and plans of embedded world actors and then share her findings with us.

Embedded World is a global platform that allows to meet the entire community and obtain unprecedented insight into the world of embedded systems. As a growth and development specialist working in such fields as Automotive, Industry Embedded, IoT, I was fascinated by the amount of exhibiting companies showcasing their solutions.

Insights from Embedded World Conference

Photo Credit: EmbeddedWorld Exhibition&Conference

While a lot of attention, both in panel discussions and in the information exchange with the exhibiting participants was given to Embedded AI, I was watching carefully for the industry progress regarding transition to new technologies used for embedded systems development. Particularly, what caught my attention is the change of RUST adoption.

Earlier I had a lot of discussions with various semiconductor companies and embedded framework development companies and they were still hesitant regarding the new technology. However, the perspectives have changed in view of concerns about memory-safe languages and government advocacy for the use of RUST for application and systems development.

“One key recommendation the US government is now advocating is that software developers ditch memory unsafe programming languages, such as C and C++, because they are the ‘leading cause of the world’s software vulnerabilities’.”

The White House Cyber Security Chief | State of Open Source Conference

Experts, who spoke at 2024 Embedded World, view Rust as a suitable option to switch from programming languages that provide little or no inherent memory protection, such as C/C++.

Jacob Beningo, Beningo Embedded Group:

“The C programming language has dominated embedded software development for the last 50 years. Despite other languages coming and going, C has withstood the winds of change. The latest language to challenge C’s dominance is Rust. Rust is a system programming language that offers modern language features including memory safety.”

Industry leaders have already made their conclusions and take actions, thus Microsoft and Google are looking to rewrite existing C, C++ and C# systems in Rust, while Volvo has already started using this language.

What makes Rust the language of choice in the matter of memory safe programming languages? Speeches at the conference shed some light on it.

As Prof. Dr. Stefan Wehr, Hochschule Offenburg, put it:

“Rust is a relatively new language around systems and low-level programming. Its main goals are performance, correctness, safety and productivity. While still ~70% of all severe vulnerabilities are caused by memory bugs, Rust offers 100% memory safety (no segfaults or buffer overflows) and is 100% safe against data races. Further, Rust provides several features better known from high-level languages: immutability, algebraic data types, pattern matching, traits and closures. The features are provided as zero-cost abstractions, so the performance of Rust is comparable with C or C++.”

Mario Cupelli, HighTec EDV-Systeme, sees Rust’s main benefit in its safety:

“Most security vulnerabilities that arise within embedded software development can be attributed to pitfalls of memory management – especially in complex multicore applications. Rust addresses these by prioritizing safety management without compromising security and performance. The paper delves into the features that make Rust an excellent choice for multicore development, illustrating these advantages using Infineon’s 32-bit multicore AURIX™ microcontroller series as an example.”
Exhibition at Embedded World 2024 Conference

Photo Credit: EmbeddedWorld Exhibition&Conference

What I saw and heard at the conference corresponds with the vision of our Embedded Software Solutions Business Unit that promotes the use of Rust among our clients, especially in the Automotive industry.

Yevgen Yakovlev, Vice President of the Business Unit at Sigma Software, states:

“Embedded World is one of the greatest industrial trade shows that has proven its value through the years. It’s the best place to meet every person working in the field of hardware development and embedded software. We are here each year to meet our clients, partners, competitors, exchange thoughts, and watch for current ideas and trends. It’s the place to check for the tendencies and trends, exchange ideas, and help the overall industry grow.”

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