Got 15 seconds? Then check out this video of a oil-rig blowout — the action starts at exactly 00:15:
Fortunately, no one got hurt in the incident. And just as fortunately, real-time control devices called blowout preventers (BOPs) are making blowouts a thing of the past. This week, Control Engineering magazine profiled a BOP based on the QNX Neutrino RTOS and the McObject high availability database. It’s a pretty cool system, but more important, it keeps oil rigs from bursting into incendiary versions of Old Faithful.
Oil rigs are surrounded by saltwater. Lots of it. Salt plays havoc with electronics, so this is one system where redundant, standby controllers come in handy. To achieve this redundancy, the BOP relies on QNX Neutrino transparent distributed processing (TDP), which can merge any number of real-time control systems into a seamless, peer-to-peer network. Together with the McObject database, QNX TDP ensures that the primary and standby controllers share the same, up-to-date view of the system.
This application is a shoe-in for my list of all-time life-saving QNX-based systems.