Case study: Ultra Datel safety-critical avionics upgrade using COTS

GE Intelligent Platforms rugged VME chassis I recently had the privilege of working with one of our partners, LDRA, and one of our customers, Ultra Datel, on writing a case study of their experiences of a mid-life upgrade of an existing avionics system.

What caught my attention was the fact that the existing system was uncertified, and the upgrade involved migrating the existing system to a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and undertaking DO-178B Level B safety certification.

As a result, the project faced a number of development challenges because the pre-existing software and device drivers were not developed with safety certification in mind, and the code needed to be re-engineered and modified to meet safety certification requirements.

In the case study, we discuss the following development challenges and how they were overcome using the LDRA Tool Suite during the development of the safety-critical VxWorks application running on a GE Intelligent Platforms ruggedised PowerPC platform:

  1. Porting to the VxWorks DO-178B safety-critical subset
  2. Reduction of high cyclomatic complexity
  3. Programming language subset compliance
  4. Code coverage to meet DO-178B Level B objectives

The case study has now been published on the Wind River website on the Aerospace & Defence customers page (and the PDF file can be accessed directly here).