MISRA started in the early 1990s as a project in the UK government's "SafeIT " programme. This programme funded projects across a broad range of industries concerned with safety-related electronic systems. The MISRA project was conceived to develop 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 interpretation of the principles of the emerging standard IEC 61508.
Once the official funding had finished, the MISRA members decided to continue working together on an informal basis, an arrangement that has continued ever since. One of the first results of this ongoing collaboration was MISRA C, which came about when Ford and Rover decided to combine their individual efforts to create a C language subset. MISRA C has since gone on to become the de facto standard for embedded C programming in the majority of safety-related industries, and is also used to improve software quality even where safety is not the main consideration.
More recently MISRA has published MISRA C++, guidance on safety analysis and guidance on model-based development and automatic code generation. Please look under "Activities" or "Publications" for further details.