Keynote Address: An Alternative Approach to DO-178

Duncan Brown

Rolls-Royce Engineering Fellow – Safety Critical Software

Most applicants who seek certification of complex electronic systems in aerospace use DO-254/ED-80 for the electronics and DO-178/ED-12 for the software. ARP4754/ED-79 is being increasingly used to manage the system aspects above the software intensive systems themselves. These documents are well understood by the regulators and they constitute an “acceptable means of compliance”. Unfortunately the objectives set out in these documents are extensive (around 140 in total) and there is a concern that this is potentially stifling innovative alternatives that cannot easily be shown to satisfy them. The FAA has launched a streamlining initiative to try to establish the “overarching properties” that these documents attempt to ensure and in doing this effectively explain the rationale behind the more detailed objectives. In Europe there is a research project called RESSAC (Re-Engineering and Streamlining Standards for Avionics Certification) to complement the FAA workshops. The vision is that one day an applicant could seek certification of a product by demonstrating how it complies with these overarching principles instead of showing compliance to DO-178, DO-254 and ARP4754.

About Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown is an Engineering Fellow at Rolls-Royce in Safety Critical Software. He holds a BSc in Computer Systems and Microelectronics from Queen Mary University, London. Duncan is also a Fellow of the BCS, a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered IT Professional and a Senior Member of the Association for Computer Machinery. He has over 25 years’ experience in safety critical software development. He served as the European Formal Methods chair on EUROCAE WG-71/SC-205 producing ED-12C/DO-178C and its associated documents. Prior to that he served on EUROCAE WG-52/SC-190 producing ED-94B/DO-248B and ED-109/DO-278. His current role is in developing systems and software capability within Rolls-Royce for control and data systems.

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