Nios II saves Thales two years in development for avionics instruments


Nios II saves Thales

two years

in development for avionics instruments


Colin Holland

12/21/2010 6:56 AM EST

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified a safety-critical avionics system that includes a DO-254/ED-80-certifiable version of Altera’s Nios II embedded processor.

Thales Avionics implemented a safety-critical version of the Nios II embedded processor in an Altera HardCopy ASIC for use in its family of integrated electronic standby instruments rather than developing a custom ASIC solution.
Using the Altera DO-254/ED-80-certifiable processor reduced overall system development time for the development of a family of integrated electronic standby instruments.

“When we began defining our integrated electronic standby instrument family, we determined it would be too costly and time consuming to develop a custom ASIC that meets the RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 objectives,” said Jerome Papineau, product manager at Thales Avionics.

“The integration of a safety-critical Nios II embedded processor with a HardCopy ASIC saved nearly two years off our development while also saving considerable costs. With its RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 level-B compliance determination, the Nios II embedded processor can be integrated into our system with confidence.”

The use of HardCopy ASICs provides Thales with improved single-event upset (SEU) immunity while also giving Thales pin-to-pin, functional and timing compatibility with the FPGA prototype design.

The development of a safety-critical version of Altera’s Nios II soft-core processor is the result of the close partnership and cooperation between Thales, HCELL Engineering and Altera, which dates back to 2006.

The RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 compliance package of the Nios II embedded processor provides avionics equipment manufacturers a commercial off-the-shelf microprocessor that can be implemented in safety-critical avionics applications.
Amr El-Ashmawi, senior marketing manager in Altera’s military business unit said, “Having the EASA certify Thales’s integrated electronic standby instruments allow us to clearly demonstrate the significant reduction in cost, development time and risk that Altera’s DO-254-certifiable Nios II processor provides.”

Altera’s Nios II embedded processor is a configurable, 32-bit FPGA-based soft microprocessor used in a variety of applications and end markets, including military, aerospace and avionics.

The safety-critical version of the processor core includes complete RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 compliance, with source code and documentation such as a plan for hardware aspects of certification (PHAC), a hardware design document (HDD) and a hardware accomplishment summary (HAS).



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