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MicroPilot Inc. is nearing the end of a five-year effort to achieve DO-178C design assurance level B certification for its upcoming MP2128HELI3 autopilot. This certification will simplify the task for operators of RPAS/UAVs to obtain authorization from regulators to conduct missions in higher risk areas where RPAS/UAV operations are currently prohibited, such as over population centres.
DO-178C is a software certification standard for airborne systems. To achieve this level of certification, software must be extensively documented, pass rigorous design reviews, and be extensively tested. As with all aviation standards, complying with DO-178C is extremely difficult.
“DO-178C is an enormously expensive process and this project represents an ongoing commitment to moving the industry forward,” said Howard Loewen, president of MicroPilot inc. “Certifiable software is a key piece of the RPAS/UAV regulatory puzzle and will open the door to higher value uses for RPAS/UAVs.”
A key feature of the MP2128HELI3 that enables it to achieve the DO-178C certification standards is the use of an ARINC 653 compliant partitioned operating system. Partitioning allows both certified and uncertified software to execute on the same processor and simplifies the task of certification by greatly reducing the amount of software that requires certification. Partitioning also provides greater flexibility by simplifying the addition of non-safety critical code. Without partitioning, non-safety critical code must be certified as if it were safety critical.
After more than half a decade of work and a process that began with the creation of MicroPilot’s XTENDERValidate requirements generation software and trueHWIL simulator, MicroPilot’s DO-178C certified MP2128HELI3 autopilots are scheduled to be available end of Q2 2020.