LynuxWorks Addresses Safety Requirements for NextGen UAVs at AUVSI 2010

Published: 03 Aug 2010 | Author: Mike Rees

LynuxWorks™, Inc., a world leader in the embedded software market, announced today that it will demonstrate its LynxOS®-178 and LynxSecure safety-critical and secure software products for use in next-generation unmanned aerial vehicles at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America 2010. The AUVSI 2010 conference, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, is the largest annual event focusing on international ground, air, and maritime unmanned systems and takes place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, August 24-27, 2010.

Safety Certification for NextGen UAVs

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are widely used in military and security operations. However, there is growing interest in a broad range of uses such as aerial photography, surveying land and crops, monitoring forest fires and environmental conditions, and protecting borders and ports against intruders. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), responsible for regulation of commercial aircraft, is developing new policies, procedures, and approval processes to accommodate commercial operation of UAVs. NextGen, the FAA’s on-going and wide-ranging transformation of the United States national airspace system, is expected to bring new safety mandates, including DO-178 software certification for UAVs.

LynuxWorks has charted a path so that today’s UAVs can be ready to meet the most stringent safety standards of the NextGen airspace. The company, whose safety-critical software products and services have been used extensively in both military and commercial avionics applications, offers solutions for both UAVs and the ground control stations used to pilot them.

Most Efficient Path to DO-178 Certification

“In practice, many UAVs are designed with the open-source Linux® operating system. Linux provides an inexpensive and highly serviceable software environment.” said Gary Gilliland, business development manager for safety-critical systems at LynuxWorks. “However it is not feasible to obtain a high level DO-178 certification with a standard Linux implementation. LynuxWorks offers the most efficient path to DO-178 certification and this is especially true when existing Linux-based applications must be ported.”

The company’s LynxOS-178 RTOS is the only commercial product to offer both DO-178 certifiability and the Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) application programming interface (API). POSIX is an open standard that defines the specifications for the characteristics of operating systems, database management systems, data interchange, programming interface, networking and user interface. It enables developers to write their applications for a single target environment in which they can port and run unchanged on a variety of systems that support the POSIX API. POSIX allows an easy migration path from open-source Linux, or other Linux variants that support the standard, to LynxOS-178.

Prevent Hackers from Hijacking UAVs

In the ground control stations where pilots direct the actions of UAVs, there is also a need for high security to prevent hackers from usurping command of the aircraft. Several communications channels must be protected including a line-of-sight data link to the UAV, a satellite data link and a network connection. To address stringent security and safety concerns, the company offers LynxSecure, its secure separation kernel and embedded hypervisor. LynxSecure is a highly secure virtualization solution that provides a versatile platform for legacy code preservation and migration. It allows legacy applications to run unmodified, enabling systems to be modernized with increased information sharing and security. It provides the necessary infrastructure for secure communication and works in conjunction with encryption and other protections required by specific applications. LynxSecure conforms to the multiple independent levels of security, or MILS, architecture, which provides strict guidelines for data isolation, damage limitation and information flow policies.

FAA-Accepted Reusable Software Component (RSC)

LynuxWorks is in a unique position to help manufacturers and developers of UAVs achieve the highest levels of safety and secruity for their designs, and to be at the forefront as the NextGen airspace emerges. In addition to its products, the company brings expertise and accreditation that will further assist customers in working with the FAA to gain certification. Its LynxOS-178 is the only time- and space-partitioned, FAA-accepted Reusable Software Component (RSC). Using an accepted RSC that meets DO-178B objectives, saves integrators the cost of verification of an operating system. This translates to a savings of 6-9 months of schedule risk over conventional DO-178B artifacts. Furthermore, it is the only COTS solution that supports both Intel Pentium and PowerPC platforms.

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