Autopilot system approaches DO-178-C certification, thereby closing regulatory gap

STONY MOUNTAIN, Manitoba, Canada. Autopilot maker MicroPilot is nearly done with its five-year effort to achieve DO-178C Design Assurance Level B certification for its upcoming MP2128 HELI3 autopilot, a level of certification that will enable operators of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to obtain authorization from regulators to conduct missions in higher-risk areas where RPA/UAV operations are prohibited, such as over population centers.

To achieve the DO-178C aviation software certification standard for airborne systems, software must be thoroughly documented, pass rigorous design reviews, and be extensively tested.

According to information from MicroPilot, the MP2128 HELI3 uses a partitioned operating system, which enables both certified and uncertified software to execute on the same processor and greatly reduces the amount of software that requires certification. Moreover, 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, which lengthens the certification process.

MicroPilot expects that its autopilot will complete DO-178C certification efforts by mid-2020.