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A Verification Standard for Design Reliability

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

_do-254The great thing about a standard is that once you decide to use it, your life as a designer is suddenly easier.  Using a standard reduces the long list of choices and decisions that need to be made to get a working product out the door.  It also gives assurance to the customer that you are following best practices of the industry.

A standard for the world of aviation electronics (avionics) is the RTCA/DO-254, Design Assurance Guidance For Airborne Electronic Hardware.  It is a process assurance flow for civilian aerospace design of complex electronic hardware typically implemented using ASICs or big FPGAs.  In the USA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that the DO-254 process is followed.  In Europe there is an equivalent standard called EUROCAE ED-80.

At first glance the standard seems daunting. It defines how design and verification flows must be strongly tied to both implementation and traceability. In DO-254 projects, HDL coding standards must be documented, and any project code must be reviewed to ensure it follows these standards.  They address the following issues: (more…)

DO-254 Without Tears

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

This article was originally published on TechDesignForums and is reproduced here by permission.

At first glance the DO-254 aviation standard, ‘Design Assurance Guideline for Airborne Electronic Hardware’, seems daunting. It defines design and verification flows tightly with regard to both implementation and traceability.

Here’s an example of the granularity within the standard: a sizeable block addresses how you write state machines, the coding style you use and the conformity of those state machines to that style.

This kind of stylistic, lower-level semantic requirement – and there are many within DO-254 – makes design managers stop and think. So it should. The standard is focused on aviation’s safety-critical demands, assessing the hardware design’s execution and functionality in appropriate depth right up to the consequences of a catastrophic failure.

Nevertheless, one pervasive and understandable concern has been the degree to which such a tightly-drawn standard will impact on and be compatible with established flows. This particularly goes for new entrants in avionics and its related markets.

Your company has a certain way of doing things so you inevitably wonder how easily that can be adapted and extended to meet the requirements of DO-254… or will a painful and expensive rethink be necessary? Can we realistically do this? (more…)

S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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