The DO-178C, DO-254, and ARP4754A are three important standards that govern how aviation systems compliance is developed. While ARP4754 focuses on the system level, DO-178C and DO-254 are standards that offer assistance for the secure development of hardware and software. Organizations involved with the development of avionics are perhaps better familiar with DO-178C, but DO-254 compliance is now equally crucial. Ensuring regulatory compliance for development in avionics is no simple task. There are many regulatory bodies both international and domestic. Then there are the criteria to follow for environmental protection, anti-terrorism measures, and safety requirements. Add to that the complexity of crossing national borders, using a vast number of external suppliers, contractors, and even payment processors, providing you with an incredibly complex environment to create software and hardware in.
Use clear definition and terminology
It is very important that everyone on your team, including stakeholders and contractors, are on the same page right from the start. When it comes to passenger, crew, and operator safety, ambiguity is a threat to everyone. Creating a glossary that you keep updated can be helpful to make sure everyone has the same understanding of things throughout the project. This is because all the technical terms and measurement units need to be used consistently throughout planning and requirements.
Ensure full traceability from the start
You must be able to demonstrate how low-level requirements relate to source code, high-level requirements to system requirements, low-level requirements to low-level requirements, and how everything connects to test cases, test processes, and test results. This provides transparency to your team and allows everyone to see the progress and results made. It also facilitates change management and demonstrates your commitment to compliance from the beginning. Finally, it makes it possible for any accreditation authorities to establish whether you have fulfilled compliance requirements, speeding up the auditing process.
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When it comes to planning and requirements, you want to be crystal-clear about what is needed. Use specific figures that correlate with quantitative system requirements for the systems you are developing. You also need to take system reaction times into consideration as well as input and output figures. However, you need to make sure that the emphasis is on the quality of requirements rather than an exhaustive quantity, so you don’t end up with a requirement bloat.
Tooling makes all the difference
DO-178C/DO-254 compliance can be a lengthy and expensive process, so it’s no wonder that some working in avionics development wonder what the point is. However, if you are prepared with the right information, processes, and tools, DO-178C compliance and DO-254 compliance can be extremely beneficial for your organization. First of all, this level of airborne systems compliance helps you create products that put passenger, crew, and operator safety first.
Any easy way to streamline the development of airborne products, aviation software, and embedded avionics systems is by using an Engineering Lifecycle Management platform like PTC’s Codebeamer technology with capabilities geared towards the needs of the aviation industry.
The capabilities of Codebeamer allow you to leverage the high level of traceability, transparency, and documentation you need to make your DO-178C, DO-254, and ARP4754A compliance efforts as smooth as possible. Using our preconfigured template for DO-178C compliance enables you to achieve efficiency in fulfilling the objectives of this aviation regulation.
Download our eBook to learn more about the basics of DO-178C and DO-254