Deploying Safety-Critical Applications on Complex Avionics Hardware Architectures


Aviation electronics (avionics) are sophisticated and distributed systems aboard an airplane. The complexity of these systems is constantly growing as an increasing amount of functionalities is realized in software. Thanks to the performance increase, a hardware unit must no longer be dedicated to a single system function. Multicore processors for example facilitate this trend as they are offering an increased system performance in a small power envelope. In avionics, several system functions could now be integrated on a single hardware unit, if all safety requirements are still satisfied. This approach allows for further optimizations of the system architecture and substantial reductions of the space, weight and power (SWaP) footprint, and thus increases the transportation capacity. However, the complexity found in current safety-critical systems requires an automated software deployment process in order to tap this potential for further SWaP reductions. This article used a realistic flight control system as an example to present a new model-based methodology to automate the software deployment process. This methodology is based on the correctness-by-construction principle and is implemented as part of a systems engineering toolset. Furthermore, metrics and optimization criteria are presented which further help in the automatic assessment and refinement of a generated deployment. A discussion regarding a tighter integration of this approach in the entire avionics systems engineering workflow concludes this article.

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R. Hilbrich and L. Dieudonné, "Deploying Safety-Critical Applications on Complex Avionics Hardware Architectures," Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, Vol. 6 No. 5, 2013, pp. 229-235. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2013.65028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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