Tag Archives: avionics

AFuzion Wins Major Asian World-wide Aviation Services Contract (and Other News)

12 Jul

AFuzion is proud to win Asia’s world-wide competition for Avionics Development Services.

One of Asia’s largest aviation development companies  conducted a 2019 worldwide search for the best avionics development services company and chose … AFuzion.   Photo here of a few of their engineers at the first AFuzion meeting. This marks AFuzion’s 7th new Asian client in just the past six months.  AFuzion’s services include mentoring, consulting, DO-178C training and certification, DO-254 training and certification, and ARP4754A Systems/Safety deployment.  Also, AFuzion’s recently updated DO-178C Templates/Checklists and DO-254 Templates/Checklists are now in wide use worldwide, with over 7,000 engineers using them today … and growing.  In the past month, AFuzion has hired four new engineers:  all senior aviation, avionics, and safety veterans with 20+ years applied expertise each.  With all this growth comes additions to the corporate AFuzion office also:  a big welcome to Heather M in Web/Design, Matthew Kendall in Human Resources, and Davis Powell in Internal Operations – keep up all the great attitudes and hard work.

Also, thank you to everyone for requesting  new aviation development terms/explanations be added to our website. We followed your suggestions and added those terms along with AFuzion’s concise explanation for each. The updated AFuzion Tech Terminology for Aviation explanation page is updated and live here:  https://afuzion.com/tech-info/  

Also, AFuzion has added three new technical aviation development training courses on RTOS’s, Multi-Core Computing / CAST-32A, and AS9115A Quality Systems Management.  Each of these courses has been given at least three times in 2019 so far so thanks to all for suggesting we add these courses as well – keep your suggestions coming and AFuzion will do its best to follow-up.  AFuzion Aviation Development Training course information is available here: https://afuzion.com/training/

Finally, the annual IEEE Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC)  is coming to USA’s  San Diego September 8-11. North America’s largest avionics development technical conference with 50+ presentations, 15+ Tutorials, and amazing guest speakers/panels covering all the important topics.  Details here: https://2019.dasconline.org/pages/tutorial-schedule

AFuzion In Korea: YB Cho Presents AFuzion’s DO-178C / DO-254 Gap Analysis in Seoul

7 Jul

Mr. YB Cho of SOaR in Korea presented AFuzion’s DO-178C and DO-254 Services at Korea’s largest aerospace conference – July 2019. Say’s Mr. Cho “AFuzion’s world-reknowned DO-178C, DO-254, and ARP4754A services are well received and deployed in Korea. SOaR is pleased to be working with AFuzion bringing even more avionics certification services to Korea.” Additional details are found on the AFuzion homepage: https://afuzion.com/

Mr. YB Cho in Seoul Presenting AFuzion’s Solutions in Seoul’s largest aviation conference

Korea is a strong and growing aviation market, serving both military and civil aviation. Koreans favor DO-178C cost-efficiency and DO-254 fast time to market, so AFuzion’s ready-made DO-178C and DO-254 Templates for Plans, Standards, and Checklists are ideally suited to the Korean market. Korean companies have strong engineering, but appreciate AFuzion’s DO-254 Gap Analysis and DO-178C Gap Analysis to understand and then optimally close those gaps. Additional AFuzion Gap Analysis details are found here: https://afuzion.com/gap-analysis/

Adds AFuzion’s Vance Hilderman “AFuzion travels frequently to Korea, China, Singapore, Japan, and Malaysia to work with our clients there. In Korea, we’re very pleased to have Mr. YB Cho as our colleague. Our old technical whitepapers are widely distributed in Korea from folks who like yesterday’s old technology and don’t have their own, but the new AFuzion avionics development/certification whitepapers are freely downloaded from AFuzion’s site. Koreans (and the rest of the world) prefer the latest DO-178C and DO-254 information which is available freely on AFuzion’s site for download here: https://afuzion.com/avionics-safety-critical-training-whitepapers/

Santa, All We Want For New Year 2019 is … Seven More Avionics Engineers!

4 Jan

OK, time for honesty:  did everyone get what they wanted from Santa Claus ten days ago?!?   Yes, Santa was good for everyone here at AFuzion Inc. with our record-breaking year doubling last year’s $ results.  But one thing (actually seven things) were missing from under the Tree … yes, Engineers.

You see, we’ve been steadily increasing staff here the past five years to keep up with our growing business in 25 countries.  At our December planning meeting, we actually wrote a letter to Santa asking him ” Santa, please bring us 9 more engineers. To start work Jan 7, 2019.”  Really.  Now folks, all of us either have children, know children, or are still children.  My kids even say I’m just a big child during the holidays.  We BELIEVE in Santa Claus. (Santa, are you listening?)  When we were kids, we usually got some of what we wanted.  But this year, Santa only brought us two engineers.  2.  T-W-O.    Santa, can you spell “N I N E”?  As in “9”.  We asked for 9.  We got 2.

Santa, do you not do math at the North Pole?  When Susie or Johnnie ask for a new bike, do you simply bring them one tire?  Yes, the two engineers you brought were great. Really.  Truly.  Top 10% of their field which is our minimum standard.  Thank you Santa.  But again we asked for Nine.  We got TWO …

Santa, if you are listening, we won’t tell anyone if you secretly make another trip to our chimney and bring us seven more engineers.  Yes, these are for the USA so must be USA citizens.  Yes, these are for the western USA so hopefully they want to live in Los Angeles, Phoenix, or Dallas.  Please Santa, if you can’t bring the engineers directly to us, please just send us their contact info or CV to our email at info@afuzion.com.  Otherwise Santa, we’re going to spread the word that you sleep in funny red pajamas and live off cookies, milk, and … reindeer meat.  Santa, really.  Lay off the reindeer – just send us great Engineers please. ASAP!!!

Yours truly,

All the Engineers (Elves) at AFuzion Inc.

AFuzion Launches New CAST-32A Multi-Core Processing Training

18 Nov

AFuzion’s new CAST-32A Multi-Core Processing for Avionics and Safety-Critical developers has launched with strong acclaim. The future of embedded processing is via multi-core processors as the need for added processing power has surpassed the ability of CPU’s to keep up. However, multi-core processors utilize shared cache, shared memory, and shared communications I/O. This sharing between the MCP cores produces potential interference which can violate the very “determinism” requisite for certifiable safety-critical systems. For example, avionics DO-178C and DO-254 require adherence to CAST-32A recently updated by the worldwide Certification Authorities Software Team (CAST).

CAST-32A is the worldwide (America, Europe, Asia) Certification Authorities Software Team (CAST) guidance for ensuring safe implementation of Multi-Core Processing (MCP) within avionics systems. Increasingly MCP’s are used in avionics and understanding what must be done to plan for, implement, and verify deterministic “safe” MCP development via CAST-32A is the focus of this AFuzion 2-day private training course. Attendees will understand how to utilize multiple-cores providing simultaneous operations using deterministically shared resources such as cache, memory, and communications and performing MCP CAST-32A Interference Analysis. Attendees will also learn how to work with RTOS vendors and RTOS’s themselves to comply with CAST-32A and develop safer avionics.  For a free technical whitepaper on CAST-32A, download here: Click Here for Free AFuzion Technical Whitepaper “Understanding CAST-32A

 

CAST-32A is increasingly relevant to avionics developers but users find it vague and challenging to understand. AFuzion’s 2-day CAST-32A Training teaches attendees how to properly understand, deploy, and verify MCP-based applications. AFuzion’s training was recently provided with our industry partner Lynx Software to 45 senior MCP developers in Huntsville Alabama and it was a resounding success; all the attendees stated it was highly worthwhile and crisply delivered to provide a true practical understanding of CAST-32A deployment for avionics via DO-178C and DO-254. AFuzion’s CAST32A training syllabus is summarized below, with full details at AFuzion’s website, https://afuzion.com/training/cast-32a-multi-core-processing-training/

 

KEY FEATURES:

  • CAST-32A Introduction
  • Summary of DO-178C, for Multi-Core usage
  • RTOS Introduction & Scheduling, Processes, Tasks, and Threads
  • MCP What & Why
  • DO-178C & MCP – Plans, Standards, Activities
  • CAST-32A MCP Robust Partitioning Principles
  • RTOS Specifics – Technical Info
  • DO-254 & MCP
  • MCP Cert, Deadlines, Benchmarks & Reports
  • Overview: IMA, ARP4754A, ARP4761 & MCP
  • IMA & CAST-32A Modules and Partitioning
  • DO-178C’s & MCP Requirements, Design & Verification –
  • MCP & CAST-32A Best Practices for Planning, Testing, & Certification
  • MCP & CAST-32A WCET Mistakes & Best Practices

New Free Tech Webinar Friday, June 8: “Safety, Security, Agile Development: Pick Any 3!”

4 Jun

The most frequent question we get at AFuzion the past year from dozens of clients  is “How do I merge Agile Development into my safety-critical development while ensuring my software meets Security standards???”    If you’re into aviation, automotive, or medical devices, this question has Pass/Fail consequences.  If you’re programming a cappuccino machine, it has consequences … (imagine some hacker changing my espresso machine settings remotely to provide less caffeine in my morning routine (and afternoon; and evening).  TRAGIC!!

So we’re doing something about this, to avert more serious tragedies and enable developers worldwide to better merge AGILE development into their safety and security software.  Really.  This free technical webinar is limited to the first 500 registrants – click here for more info or to register:Free Registration June 7 Tech Webinar “Safety, Security, and AGILE Development – Pick Any Three!”

 

 

Spending Too Many $$ on UAV Certification? New Free 12-Page AFuzion Paper Explains.

6 May

If you’re reading this, you’re likely involved with UAV / UAS / RPV development. New rules for software/hardware UAV compliance to DO-178C and DO-254 are confusing; and expensive.  AFuzion’s new 12-Page technical paper on Reducing DO-178C Costs for UAV’s explains.  Free download links herein; the following is a short synopsis – full details in the free paper.

In the “Good Old Days”, the avionics guideline DO-178B was only informally applied to unmanned systems. But first, let’s clarify: in technology, the “Good Old Days” means 10-20 years ago. In the world of unmanned systems, “Good Old Days” means 5-10 years ago. However, the Good Old Days were rarely as good as they seemed, so the Good Old Days of Unmanned Systems had disadvantages along with those seeming advantages …

AFuzion recently hired four new engineers whose sole focus is UAV certification/compliance. The full 12-page technical paper is available for free download here:  Click Here to Download Free 12-Page Reducing UAV Cert Costs Whitepaper

DO-178B has been replaced with DO-178C, and is now increasingly applied to (and in a growing number of cases, required for) airborne avionics within Unmanned Systems. DO-178C is never cheap, certainly not on the first project. And in clear cases outlined herein, DO-178C can increase costs above DO-178B, which already increased initial avionics development costs by 20-40% itself. But is DO-178C really “too” expensive? Doesn’t it reduce costs over DO-178B for companies who were doing it “right”? Does DO-178C have favorable benefits versus costs over the lifetime of Unmanned Systems? Does DO-178C reduce long-term unmanned costs at the expense of increased development cost? Will DO-178C improve UAV safety and reliability and if so, to what degree? Exactly what benefits are received from complying with DO-178C? These important questions are answered in the AFuzion paper (available by download). An all-too-brief intro follows.

A popular myth is that DO-178C is expensive when applied to UAV’s. Indeed, DO-178C is not “cheap” as clearly the additional costs can be seen above. Level D certified software still has generally full planning, high and low-level requirements, implementation, reviews, and full functional testing of all high-level requirements with traceability applied. Additionally, configuration management, quality assurance, and DER liaison are applied to Level D. Yet the costs of Level D are just 15% higher than medium-quality consumer/financial software developed per typical CMMI Level 2-3 processes. Why? Because Level D is comprised almost entirely of normal industry-standard software engineering principals. Also, many companies new to DO-178C believe their prior, existing efforts including planning, requirements, designs, test, and reviews must be re-done: not true. In fact, a DO-178 Gap Analysis activity will analyze the existing processes and work to re-use such processes while identifying the “gaps” to fulfill DO-178’s requirements. (The author has performed dozens of successful DO-178 Gap Analysis activities which take 2-4 weeks to perform and form the basis of the data herein.)

DO-178 also requires reviews (generally independent for Level B and mostly independent for Level A) of all software development processes and artifacts. DO-178 reviews must be per approved DO-178 checklists to ensure all required aspects are properly reviewed. To save money and time, many companies use automated project management/review tools.

Another myth is that the most significant software cost escalation occurs when moving from DO-178 Level B criticality to Level A. Untrue, but for an interesting reason. The singular largest difference between a Level A system and the Level B system is the 100x greater reliability required by the Level A system per ARP-4761A. However, that 100x reliability must come primarily from the system/hardware architecture and not the software. How? Added redundancy: the only way to meet DO-178C’s Level A reliability is via increased hardware/system redundancy which of course greatly increases total UAV cost. But the software cost difference, the subject herein, between Level A and Level B software is quite minor as seen in the figures above.

The cost differential within DO-178C is the most significant between Level D and Level C. Why? Level C requires the following key objectives which Level D does not and which results in Level C requiring 35% more effort than Level D:

  • Testing of low-level software requirements
  • Ensuring 100% coverage of all source code statements
  • Assessment of requirements, design, and code to standards
  • Greater rigor placed upon reviews
  • In many cases more rigorous configuration management

Level B requires additional structural coverage (decision-condition, e.g. all branches in the source code), additional independence in reviews, and tighter configuration management. At first glance, it would seem that Level B should be significantly more expensive, e.g. 50% – 70%, than Level C. In theory, it seems to make sense, but as in many areas of life, common sense overcomes theory. In Level B (and C) there must be detailed, low-level software requirements and they must be thoroughly tested. Remember, DO-178C requires detailed low-level requirement verification beginning with Level C and those low level requirements will cover the vast majority of software logic decisions. During requirements-based testing, most (80-90%+) of the branches in the source code are already covered and hence require no additional structural coverage testing if test capture and coverage tools are appropriately used during that functional testing. Therefore, the seemingly significant cost increase associated with Level B versus C structural coverage is already mitigated by DO-178C’s greatly enhanced requirements-based testing. Also, quality software engineering organizations already incorporate a semi-automated and streamlined process which includes independent reviews and tight configuration management; ergo the added cost of those aspects for Level B is largely mollified. The reader is well-advised to undergo upfront DO-178 Training and DO-178 Process Improvement to leverage these cost reduction techniques.

Now, “efficient” followers of DO-178B for UAV’s will find even greater cost impact in adhering to DO-178C for the newer generation UAV’s. Their “efficiency” may have been due to taking liberties with DO-178B’s intended, but less enforced, low-level requirement detail. Such shortcuts enabled less detailed functional testing with many fewer logic branches verified. While acceptable for DO-178B Level C, it’s unacceptable for DO-178C Level C which mandates greater detailed of low level requirements. Because of that greater detail, DO-178C inadvertently reduced the difference between Level C and Level B because the decision-condition structural coverage objective of Level B is largely covered already in Level C due to those more detailed low-level requirements. Also, developers making extensive use of Parameter Data Items (objects or logic external to the main application program) are now required to fully document, review, trace, and test all that data under DO-178C; something they “should” have been doing under the intent of DO-178B. Voilà.

To better understand how to apply reuse to UAV’s for DO-178C and DO-254 compliance, you just need to understand your current DO-178C gaps and DO-254 gaps and perform a UAV Gap Analysis per DO-178C/DO-254. AFuzion shows you how in a 1-minute video and also explains UAV and DO-178C DO-254 Gap Analysis – free info and video hereClick Here for DO-178C & DO-254 Gap Analysis Info and Free 1-Minute Video Explaining

 

New DO-160 Avionics Testing Technical Whitepaper by AFuzion – Free Download

7 Jan

AFuzion has released its new DO-160 Avionics Testing Whitepaper, available today for free download here: Click Here to download AFuzion’s DO-160 Technical Whitepaper – Free.

Do you know DO-160?  Here’s a quick summary; simply download AFuzion’s free technical DO-160 paper for details.

DO-160, “Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment”, applies to virtually all commercial avionics systems and many other forms of airborne equipment. In the case of DO-160, the title is quite revealing, as DO-160:

  • Pertains to environmental testing, not logic execution or developmental processes
  • Provides explicit, independent test criteria which must be attained to achieve equipment certification
  • Applies to airborne equipment and expected worst-case environmental conditions which could potentially be encountered during aircraft operations

 

Essentially, DO-160 mandates tests which prove the equipment will continue to operate as desired in worst-case environmental conditions which could potentially occur in an aircraft. The purpose of which is safety, whereas commercial aspects are not important to DO-160 per se. Some people fondly call DO-160 the “Shake And Bake” test regimen, because early DO-160 testing was based upon subjecting the hardware to extreme vibration and temperature conditions. But DO-160 has always been more than “shake and bake” and the most recent versions introduce many additional forms of testing including pressure, salt, water, RF, magnetism, lightning, and many more environmental conditions.

Before proceeding further, please ponder a little quiz …

  • T / F:   DO-160 applies solely to electronic hardware.
  • T / F:   DO-160 can be used to measure service life and MBTF.
  • T / F:   DO-160 testing is typically performed simultaneously to performance and functionality testing of the hardware/software logic
  • T / F:   DO-160 is predominantly concerned with temperature and vibration testing.
  • T / F:   DO-160 is a static document and rarely updated.
  • T / F:   DO-160 testing should all be performed on the same piece of equipment.

 

Do you know all the answers? A couple of them are tricky, but reading AFuzion’s full and free DO-160 paper will help.

 

 

DO-160 has a long pedigree. While the first version was released in 1975, it is derived from DO-138 which dates back to 1958, making it one of the older aviation certification documents still applicable today, albeit in its latest revision. Although many of the other “DO” documents pertain to specific aspects of hardware, software, systems, and processes, DO-160 is often considered the grandfather since almost all these systems must ultimately pass DO-160 testing.

 

DO-160 is essentially equipment environmental testing to Minimal Operational Performance Standards (MOPS), where testing is to be performed in a certified laboratory environment with certified & calibrated equipment. Such a laboratory environment means the tests are objective, standardized worldwide, and repeatable. Typically these tests are performed at testing centers which are independent of the design, though larger companies may have their own dedicated DO-160 test environments. Non-certified laboratories or equipment are useful ‘engineering tools’ to increase design confidence and decrease actual certified laboratory test time. The successful conclusion of a DO-160 test campaign is an accepted Test Report (desirably, but not necessarily with all ‘pass’). A well-written Test Report is not a trivial task, and in this context would include the certified laboratory(ies) and a list of the test articles, which includes the calibrated test equipment. The DO-160 testing would follow a previously written and customer accepted Test Procedure, being referenced in a Test Plan.

For DO-160 Training or additional information, click here or contact AFuzion: AFuzion’s Avionics Development Training – Info & Contact Click Here.

For a quick 1-minute video to understand how to close your avionics development gaps, click here: Click upper right video link here for AFuzion’s Gap Analysis 1-minute video