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Revolutionizing Airborne Electronics: Charting the Future of DO-254 Amidst New Regulatory Landscapes

As of 2024, RTCA DO-254 / EUROCAE ED-80, the prevailing guidance for gaining approval of Airborne Electronic Hardware (AEH), has been in use without major updates since its inception in April 2000, twenty-four years ago. The 2022 releases of FAA AC 20-152A and EASA AMC 20-152A have nearly doubled the number of objectives required for modern airborne electronics approval, signaling a significant shift in regulatory expectations. As a result of this new guidance and the general advance of technology, the time has come for a major refresh of DO-254.

 

Representatives from across the aerospace industry came together in Paris with many others dialed in from around the world to discuss what an update effort needs to focus on and how to approach the effort. This work is being accomplished by the new EUROCAE Working Group (WG) 128 and the corresponding join RTCA Special Committee (SC) 243. In presentations from over forty organizations, a set of common themes emerged including:


· Consolidation of Existing Guidance: Consolidation of guidance (AC/AMC 20-152A) with DO-254 / ED-80


· Complexity Assessment: Enhancing guidelines to better assess the complexity of modern AEH


· Objective-Based Organization: Aligning with the structure used in SAE ARP4754B / ED-79B and DO-178C / ED-12C


· Circuit Board Assembly: Refining objectives to address current industry practices.


· Technology Refresh: Ensure coverage of modern technologies [e.g., System on a Chip (SOC), Multi-Core Processors (MCP)]


· Development Techniques: Ensure coverage of modern development and verification techniques [e.g., Model-Based Development (MBD), Universal Verification Methodology (UVM)]


· Terminology Alignment: Align terminology between the major prevailing development assurance guidelines


· Document Integration: Addition of ties as appropriate to other documents authored after DO-254, most notably DO-330 for tool qualification, DO-331 for MBD, and DO-333 for formal methods


Next steps in this effort include the generation of a report summarizing these themes and suggesting the best path forward for the overall update effort.  This report will inform the development of Terms of Reference (TOR) that will govern the update effort which is expected to take the next three to five years.


Avionyx and our parent company, Joby Aviation, will be bringing their experiences of applying DO-254 and the associated guidance to this very important industry consensus standard development effort. We invite industry partners to contact us to learn how our insights and expertise in applying DO-254 and related guidance can benefit your projects.


For further information, please reach out to Avionyx at sales@avionyx.com to explore collaboration opportunities.

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