SYSGO, NASA Evaluate AFDX and ARINC 653 for Exploration Vehicle

SYSGO, a global vendor of highly reliable device software, has participated in a NASA evaluation of AFDX(TM), the new avionics data network, as well as ARINC 653-1, the standard interface for avionics application software, in connection with NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle Program.

NASA is currently surveying standards and technology for embedded avionics systems for the new Crew Exploration Vehicle. One of the possibilities for the communications subsystem is AFDX(TM), a deterministic full-duplex switched Ethernet, based on COTS Ethernet components. The specifications for AFDX(TM) come from ARINC 664, which is the new standard for avionics data networks. Boeing and Airbus, for example, have adopted it for their new airplanes. For the software development, ARINC 653 is a relevant application software interface standard for avionics.

SYSGO provides a software-only implementation of AFDX(TM). Rick Alena, computer engineer at NASA Ames Research Center worked with SYSGO CTO Detlev Schaadt and software engineer Frank Goergen to evaluate and benchmark the SYSGO AFDX software. SYSGO provided NASA with an evaluation processor board running an ARINC 653 operating system and the SYSGO AFDX(TM) software for network timing and standard compliance testing conducted jointly by NASA and SYSGO engineers. With respect to AFDX(TM), the main considerations and discussions were drawn from the differences between hardware solutions and software solutions particularly in an ARINC 653 computing system.

“We were happy to provide information about AFDX(TM) to NASA, and to help them evaluate the capabilities of AFDX(TM) and ARINC 653. They now have a basis for understanding the pros and cons of using AFDX(TM) as their communications solution, and ARINC 653-based software for developing their applications,” said Detlev Schaadt, CTO of SYSGO, who joined the team supporting NASA.

SYSGO is currently participating in several development projects that involve AFDX(TM). In addition, the company is providing consulting services in connection with ARINC 653. SYSGO has significant know-how that is based on past projects with ARINC 653-compatible application development environments. SYSGO’s PikeOS is an ARINC 653-compliant real-time operating system for secure and safety-critical applications.

About AFDX(TM)/ARINC 664
“Avionic Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet” (AFDX(TM)), designated ARINC 664, is a specification for a deterministic aircraft data network bus for aeronautical, railway and military systems. The network is based on standard IEEE 802.3 Ethernet technology. The benefits from using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Ethernet components include reduced overall costs, faster system development and less-costly maintenance for the system network. Hardware components, cables and test equipment for Ethernet are field proven and much more affordable than “built-to-spec” avionics solutions. Standard commercial grade Ethernet won’t meet avionics network requirements. Therefore, AFDX(TM) extends the Ethernet standard by adding Quality of Service (QoS) and deterministic behavior with a guaranteed dedicated bandwidth. This avionic data network was first used in the Airbus A380 and A400M. Airbus and Boeing plan to use AFDX(TM) in future developments.

About SYSGO’s AFDX(TM) software
SYSGO’s AFDX(TM) software is the first of its kind to be introduced to the marketplace. It is a highly optimized software-only implementation of the AFDX(TM)/ARINC 664 specification. It conforms to the ARINC 664 specification and implements extensions and enhancements from Boeing and Airbus. SYSGO’s AFDX(TM) can be used as a stand-alone stack for high performance requirements or with an RTOS that conforms to the specifications of ARINC 653. SYSGO’s AFDX(TM) consists of the AFDX(TM) node implementation and a small-footprint host driver. Currently supported host operating systems are PikeOS(TM), SYSGO’s own ARINC 653-compliant real-time operating system for safety-critical applications and LynxOS-178(TM) and VxWorks(TM). Because SYSGO’s AFDX(TM) software is the only AFDX(TM) implementation incorporating ICMP and SNMP on the AFDX(TM) node, the behavior of the node, relative to the host, is non-intrusive and does not affect performance.

SYSGO is specialized in design, implementation and configuration of device software for the embedded market. Besides SYSGO’s real-time operating system solution for safety-critical systems, PikeOS, and the Embedded Linux development environment, ELinOS, SYSGO offers the development of device drivers, board support packages and firmware. SYSGO supports its customers with services for Embedded Linux, real-time and certification for safety-critical applications. The target markets are Aerospace & Defense, Industrial Automation, Automotive, Consumer Electronic and Network Infrastructure. SYSGO’s customers include DaimlerChrysler, EADS Airbus, EADS Military Air Systems, Honeywell, IBM, Raytheon, Rheinmetall, Rockwell-Collins and Rohde & Schwarz. SYSGO AG was founded in Mainz, Germany, in 1991 and was reincorporated as a joint stock company in October 2002. The company has six facilities in Germany and Europe and provides a global distribution network.