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Drones must comply with DO-254

Posted: 12 May 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Drones  DO-254  unmanned aerial vehicles  aviation 

DO-254 compliance for HDL code is now covered by lint tools, such as Ascent Lint from Real Intent. Their accumulation of design knowledge helps ensure that safety-critical designs will be successful. Automation makes it easy to adopt lint tools into an existing team's design flow.

To achieve a more robust DO-254 compliance, a linter is an important foundation, but not a stand-alone solution. You need a suite of tools, also packed with the same kind of design intelligence.

Verification that analyses the sequential behaviour and the deeper intent of RTL code provides an additional level of checking necessary for a safety-critical design. An autoformal tool uses proof engines to find subtle corner conditions that cannot be seen by a lint tool and could easily be missed in simulation. An X-propagation tool assures that designs come out of reset and low-power states correctly.

A suite of focused tools greatly improves the efficiency of existing players delivering projects and also lowers entry barriers for new ones. It boosts competition, resulting in higher quality.

Right now, aviation is an exciting field enabled by advanced electronics. The drone market alone—spurred by interest from the likes of Amazon and Google—is being awarded multi-billion dollar valuations. In the United States, the FAA has finally described the operational role for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), albeit relatively small ones for now.

As UAVs become more commonplace, their DO-254 compliance increasingly will be required, even if the FAA is not itself making that mandatory...yet. DO-254 clearly is a standard for high reliability verification in the field of avionics whose importance will soar.

- Graham Bell
  EE Times U.S./Vice President, Marketing
  Real Intent

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