The potential consequences and acceptable probability of failure of an avionics system dictate the Design Assurance Level (DAL) that must be met in order for it to be certified for flight. The key computing elements of a system - such as the single-board computers (SBCs), graphics cards, and operating systems built into a flight-control computer or flight display - must all be designed with safety in mind and endure stringent testing to prove they can meet the required DAL. ARP4754 (Guidelines for Development of Civil Aircraft and Systems - Figure 1) is used by avionics designers as they allocate functions to systems and assign DALs to hardware and software for their safety-certifiable systems.
Avionics integrators and aircraft certification agencies now understand and accept that certifiable commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) assemblies can be designed with a complete set of DO-254 and DO-178B data artifacts that will support system and aircraft certification. The next phase: Defining the advantages of these products on the subsystem level when bringing the cost, time, and [...]