Safety Assured

Date: 2017/04/07
Type: In the News

The Federal Aviation Authority recognises the role EDA tools can play in demonstrating DO-254 compliance. Louie De Luna, Aldec’s DO-254 programme manager, discusses three solutions developed for FPGA designers.


Developed in the 1990s by the RTCA SC-180 committee, DO-254, a.k.a. “Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware”, was published in year 2000. In 2005, the FAA Advisory Circular (AC 20-152) recognised DO-254 as a means of compliance to the federal aviation regulations when complex custom micro-coded components are used in airborne systems. Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) fall in the category of ‘custom micro-coded components’ and are increasingly being used in avionics roles. The designs (functionality) residing within the FPGAs must therefore comply with DO-254. However, DO-254’s style is very much objectives-based in that it spends a great deal of time explaining what should be done rather than explaining how to meet the objectives.


During the development of an FPGA, EDA tools are used for simulation, synthesis, place and route and static timing analysis, for example, so all have a role to play in DO-254 compliance. However, the FAA also recognises that other forms of EDA tool, most notably those that push harder into the verification space and/or provide traceability, can provide further design assurance for components with high impacts of failure. Specifically, the FAA has defined five hardware Design Assurance Levels (DALs), where DAL A denotes a ‘catastrophic consequence of failure’ and DAL B denotes a ‘hazardous/severe consequence’...


For the rest of this article, visit Aerospace Manufacturing Magazine. Or see page 12 here.

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