Cleared for Take-off: A Real Life Example
Certification is an important, although often costly, part of getting new equipment to market. The certification process itself can be arduous but one also has to consider the amount of time and resources spent to adequately prepare for the certification. Simulation is a way to dramatically reduce the cost of preparing for certification, while at the same time increasing the likelihood of certifying.
For an electronics subcontractor on a major new aircraft project, full DO-178C testing was taking three weeks, primarily due to the limited availability of flight hardware test systems. Moreover, the test runs usually found defects, meaning no test credit and time lost doing the repairs and retesting.
Simics made it possible to perform a test run overnight. The developer could not get credit for a test run on a virtual platform—but the average time from code commit to defect detection dropped dramatically from four and half weeks to 24 hours. That meant enormous cost savings and helped ensure that the product would not fail the actual certification test again.
The happy ending: The component was delivered on time and under budget, and has not been subject to recalls or FAA directives.
How did they do it? Check out our paper for the rest of the story.