Electronic Design

Tools Make Design Of High-Rel Avionics, Aerospace Applications Easier

Actel Corp. and Aldec Inc. have partnered to create two highly integrated solutions specifically for Actel FPGAs used in high-reliability avionics and aerospace applications. One is a hardware/software verification package to ease DO-254 certification. The other is a flash-based prototyping solution for Actel’s space-optimized RTAX-S FPGAs that allows customers to exploit the flexibility and reprogrammability of flash-based prototypes for multiple applications.

DO-254/EU80, “Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware, was adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration to describe how to develop “safe” airborne electronic hardware, including FPGA designs intended to flight use. Aldec’s hardware/software verification platform includes software tools to capture and compare simulation data with a set of golden vectors. It also includes a customized board for the functional verification phase of the DO-254 compliance process.

The second product, Aldec’s RTAX-S prototyping solution, allows customers to take advantage of Actel’s flash-based reprogrammable ProASIC3/E devices. Formerly, RTAX-S prototyping required use of a commercial one-time programmable antifuse-based FPGA. Because several of these devices may be needed to validate a flight-unit design during prototyping, the availability of a reprogrammable solution is more cost-effective. Further, the new tool allows rapid reconfiguration of development platforms for space-flight computing, permitting faster integration and co-development of hardware and software. An included prototyping adaptor maps the footprint of the ProASIC3/E device to the footprint of an RTAX-S device. Thus, customers can use the reprogrammable prototyping tool without altering the layout of their space-flight pc board.

Pricing for the DO-254 verification tool depends on the device being used, features needed, and amount of support required for certification. Prices for the prototyping solution depend on the device being used. The RTAX250S/RTAX1000S in a CQ352 package costs $4995. The first prototyping board will be available in December.

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