Cut Aviation Design Costs with Off-the-Shelf Electronics

17 February 2021

Aircraft designers and systems integrators know what it takes to bring a new aircraft to market. Teams of engineers work for years to ensure an aircraft passes stringent FAA certification. No design detail is too small, and no implementation challenge is too large, for successful companies.

These companies sometimes invest millions of dollars and considerable engineering time developing their own embedded computer software and hardware. To be sure, engineering low-level board and system level electronics from the ground up is a big investment.

However, working with a vendor that supplies off the shelf, widely applicable, general purpose computing platforms can significantly reduce these costs, as well as minimize time-to-market-delay risks.

When creating safety-certifiable open architecture computing and electronic system platforms, suppliers are responsible for the design and processes required to generate all the safety artifacts required by the FAA.  Safety and reliability are built into the computing platform on arrival.

The vendor delivers the platform complete with processor, communications interfaces, I/O, video and graphics and avionics bus support, and the associated artifacts. The systems integrator or aircraft designer can focus on adding its own core functionality on top of the platform.

When it comes to staying abreast of latest chip advancements, general purpose computing platform suppliers are hard to beat. Working closely with NXP, Intel, and NVIDIA and others, these vendors bring advanced silicon chip technology to their customers, resulting in enhanced computer lifecycles.

The bottom line is significant cost savings can be achieved by working with a vendor that offers already-productized certifiable embedded electronics commercially available off the shelf. The investment in the technology has already been amortized over many projects and customers. As a result, the cost to an aircraft designer or systems integrator, as well as risks, are considerably lower than if they designed the computer platform themselves.

Abaco Systems takes a wholistic view of the market and understands the different needs of its customers, bringing all these needs together. This view allows Abaco Systems to better plan for emerging trends, ultimately keeping costs down and reliability up. Read this white paper to learn more.

Simon Collins

Simon is a senior product manager at Abaco. He rejoined the company in March 2019, following four years with ADLINK Technology. Prior to that, he was Radstone – and then GE Intelligent Platforms – from 1998. Simon holds a Bachelors degree in Microelectronics and Computing from University College of Wales at Aberystwyth and a Masters degree in Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Technology. Much of his spare time is taken up helping ensure the smooth running of Old Northamptonians Rugby Club.