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DO-178C: The New Gear For Driving Software Development Guidelines In Avionics Industry

DO-178C: The New Gear For Driving Software Development Guidelines In Avionics Industry

With more complex hardware taking its roots in Avionics, the embedded software has also become extensive and complex. From few thousand lines of code supporting and driving Airbus A300, the complexity has increased manifold, adding to tens of millions of lines of code for A380. With the increasing complexity, the standards needed to be revised to suit the changing requirements and add on features which the avionics industry figured out in last 19 years, since the approval of DO-178B in 1992.

The RTCA/EUROCAE SC 205/WG71 joint committee comprising of aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, tool vendors and certification authorities on January 2012 finally approved the new guidelines for DO-178C. The guidelines are now mandated by FAA in the USA, EASA in Europe and CAAC in China, AR MAK in Russia and similarly other authorities across the world.

Since the release of DO-178B, there were strong calls by DERs (Designated Engineering Representative) for clarification on definition and boundaries for High level requirement, low level requirement and derived requirement. Also there were pointers raised against the DO-178B guidelines as it failed to define clearly the start/exit criteria for system requirements and system design (ARP4754) and software requirement and software design (DO-178B). Another major challenge was to address Model-Based Development and Verification (MBDV). All these shortcomings have been addressed through the new guidelines for DO-178C. The core remaining the same as DO-178B, there are supplement documents that are part of new guidelines for DO-178C.

  • Model-Based Development and Verification Supplement to DO-178C and DO-278A (DO- 331)
  • Object-Oriented Technology and Related Techniques Supplement to DO-178C and DO-278A (DO-332)
  • Formal Methods Supplement to DO-178C and DO-278A (DO-333)
  • Software Tool Qualification Considerations (DO-330)

With these changes in place, the avionics industry is looking for a promising future for embedded software development and verification.

The next generation aerospace system software will adhere to the DO-178C standard, to be deployed on commercial aircraft, business jets and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Some existing aircraft systems may also need to modify / re-engineer software to meet the new certification requirements. To serve this market, eInfochips has developed its DO-178C expertise through extensive training by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) DERs (Designated Engineering Representatives). eInfochips is now helping leading aerospace companies achieve DO-178C compliance with their avionics systems.

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