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I hadn't heard of "bottom up" avionics certification before I read FAA's TC-16/51. But now, looking back at it, I think the authors from Thales Avionics, including Xavier Jean, PhD, proposed a big change in perspective. In their own words, here's their proposal to add "bottom up" analysis to aircraft safety certifications on Multi-Core Processors (MCP):
5 min read
The most formidable challenges of modern avionics development programs are often centered around the safety certification process and the corresponding requirements and costs. Equally as challenging to any large development program are the design and implementation phases where the software application comes to life as it is realized on the target system environment. These phases can be compromised by:
7 min read
Overarching Properties—an alternative design assurance approach to DO-178C—marks the biggest change in airborne software safety certification since DO-178B was unveiled in 1992. Intended to be more efficient and flexible than DO-178C, the approach was introduced as DO-178C and the Overarching Properties Initiative during FAA Chief Scientist George Romanski’s keynote address at the High Integrity Software Conference in Bristol, United Kingdom (UK).
Topics: Avionics FAA Safety Certification
4 min read
A DO-178B/C Reusable Software Component (RSC) is a software collection that is recognized as meeting the requirements of RTCA/DO-178B/C and that may be used on more than one project without having to regenerate certification artifacts.
The FAA grants RSC acceptance as part of a normal certification process, provided that the applicant complies with the guidance policy defined in FAA Advisory Circular AC 20-148. The acceptance allows future users of the DO-178B/C RSC to deploy the software without the added cost and risk of re-certification. This applies to components such as operating systems and networking protocols, that can then be reused (in unadulterated form) across hardware platforms.
Why is a Reusable Software Component Important?
All software developers reuse what they create. But compliance with DO-178B/C makes reuse difficult because it often requires expensive re-certification efforts. Until now, there was no standard approach to reuse of safety-critical software.
Is It Just a Set of Artifacts?
The LynxOS-178® RSC is more than just a set of DO-178B/C artifacts. In fact the RSC follows the guidance of AC 20-148 by addressing the most difficult and critical areas of certification: integration with multiple applications at various levels of DO-178B/C criticality. The documentation set includes a detailed partitioning and interface analysis that focuses on time, space and resource partitioning as well as timing margin analysis so developers can allocate budgets to use of operating system services. The set of RSC guidance documentation includes requirements, design data, test suites and coverage analysis to meet DO-178B/C requirements.
LynxOS-178 RSC for DO-178B/C Certification
The LynxOS-178 RTOS is the first and only time and space-partitioned, FAA-accepted RSC. LynxOS-178 offers the interoperability benefits of POSIX® along with support for the ARINC 653 APplication EXecutive (APEX). The LynxOS-178 RSC is designed to be hardware-agnostic, so no changes are required to move the RSC onto other hardware platforms. The LynxOS-178 RSC acceptance applies to a family of PowerPC® processors, including the PPC 75x, 74xx. 4xx, 603 and IBM 970.
Economic Benefits of the RSC for Embedded Projects
The economic value of an RSC lies in its ability to do three things:
- Reduce engineering labor
- Reduce program risk
- Reduce cost
When an RSC is properly verified using the foresight of future use, then it is possible to perform verification to most DO-178B/C objectives and not have to revisit these activities if the RSC is not modified in future projects. The LynxOS-178 RSC provides integrators with guidance on how to integrate the RSC into applications and retain certification credit for the RSC.
More importantly, the LynxOS-178 RSC artifacts provide “educational value” to the integrator that reduces engineering labor. This educational value is provided in the form of written guidance and tests that help the integrator assimilate their applications on top of the LynxOS-178 RSC in a timely manner.
This educational value of the LynxOS-178 RSC artifacts provides integrators with a savings of 3-6 months of engineering labor over conventional DO-178B/C artifacts. This learning economy can be consistently applied in future projects. The LynxOS-178 RSC also reduces program risk by focusing certification audits where they should be focused: on the DO-178B/C objectives that remain to be satisfied and the integration of the component into an application.
With a standard set of DO-178B/C artifacts, a certification auditor can examine any part of the artifacts, even those areas that have been examined by someone else. On many occasions, developers who envision low risk with submission of standard DO-178B/C artifacts have found themselves the subject of auditors’ qualitative interpretations that result in added explanations, action items and even additional verification work resulting in a prolonged project schedule. An auditor’s job is to scrutinize results closely and aggressively find weaknesses in the verification process. Very often it’s impossible to get through an audit the first time, even if the software has been approved before.
The RSC concept avoids this dilemma by focusing the engineering and auditing effort on software integration, not previously verified operating system functions such as message queues.
Lynx Software Technologies’ LynxOS-178 RSC acceptance can provide integrators with a savings of 6-9 months of schedule risk over conventional DO-178B/C artifacts. This risk economy can be consistently applied in future projects. Lastly, the value of the LynxOS-178 RSC is to reduce overall cost to our customers. Lynx Software Technologies’ LynxOS-178 real-time operating system comprises approximately 60,000 lines of code.
The effort to verify a time- and space-partitioned operating system of this size is tens of person-years of effort. The concept is simple; an accepted RSC that meets DO-178B/C objectives saves the integrator the cost of verification of an operating system.
Leverage the RSC for Your Embedded Project
Lynx has over 30 years’ experience in helping customers across avionics, automotive, and industrial markets to realize the benefits of software reuse for their complex safety- and security-critical embedded software systems. To learn more about how to leverage a Reusable Software Component (RSC) for your next project, please direct your inquiries to email@example.com or fill out the form linked to the button below, and a representative will reach out to you within 1-2 business days.
8 min read
CAST-32A presents the coordinated position of avionics certification authorities regarding Multi-Core Processors (MCPs). While today’s aerospace ecosystem could benefit from the use of MCPs, before CAST-32A was published, FAA/EASA had not yet devised a means to obtain certification credit for safety-critical software deployed to an MCP. Toward that end, the CAST-32A position paper identifies topics of concern that could impact the safety, performance, and integrity of DO-178C aviation software deployed to MCP(s). For each topic, the paper provides a rationale that explains why these topics are of concern and proposes objectives to address the concern. (CAST-32A, “Purpose”, p. 3)