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IMA (Integrated Modular Avionics) for Small Air Transport

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - IMASAT (IMA (Integrated Modular Avionics) for Small Air Transport)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

Description of project context and objectives.

The consortium between AERTEC and CLUE is developing IMASAT “Integrated Modular Avionics for Small Air Transport”. IMASAT is focused on the design, manufacturing and qualification of a new Computing Node suitable to be used as Flight Control Computer for small air transport (SAT).
The IMASAT project attends to Clean Sky aim to revitalize the European SAT industry by encouraging the insertion of a range of new and cost effective technologies in the area of systems for a future new generation small transport aircraft (Airframe ITD WP B3.5 and Systems ITD – WP S.3). The aim of the research project is to define and implement IMA concept for SAT, so that European industry players will be able to adopt fly-by-wire (FBW) systems to reduce the weight of avionic systems, reduce maintenance operations and enhance safety by improving the human-machine interface and automatically help stabilize the aircraft.

(Figure 1 - Overview of IMASAT architecture)

IMASAT system is based on a small, stackable, custom form-factor integrated modular avionics (IMA) computer designed to present reduced weight, volume, and power dissipation. Each IMASAT unit could represent a Processing Node connected to a safety-critical Ethernet network and physically segregated from other resources such as Remote Data Concentrators (RDC), Remote Electronic Units (REU) or Remote Power Controllers (RPC). A main network high-speed AFDX safety Ethernet-based fulfilling ARINC 664 requirements will meet the requirements of low costs and data integrity in flight safety critical systems.

(Figure 2 - IMASAT chassis)

IMASAT Node's software architecture is determined by the operating system, PikeOS, that creates and manages different partitions. These partitions are isolated from each other, which means that a problem in a partition cannot affect the correct behaviour of the software running in the other partitions. This architecture allows for some of the drivers to be implemented in the kernel itself, while others can be implemented in a partition. In PikeOS 4.2 Hypervisor is DO178 DAL-B certified and its code base and processes are currently under review to ensure DO-178 DAL-A and DO-297 compliance for Multi-Core platforms.
A test bench developed for IMASAT provides comprehensive testing without the burden of using an assembled final product in the field. It is dedicated to define, run, control and monitor the different simulations to be executed in IMASAT unit to test its capabilities. Complex modelling equations by using a MATLAB/Simulink environment and time steps optimization will be performed for the importance of obtaining real-time calculation (hardware-in-the-loop, HIL, test). By allowing the system under test to interact with a simulated use case, it is possible to test early and often to uncover as many software defects as possible. It will drive the system to a more accurate simulation.

(Figure 3 - IMASAT test bench)
Description of the work during First period

Since the beginning of the project, the consortium has defined and described the specifications and ensured his compliance along the design phase. From these requirements, collected in the System Requirements Report, the designers and specialists started to work on the technical solution. They designed and detailed a product in three phases: a high-level overview of IMASAT system main hardware and software parts, conceptual design, and a preliminary design with a deeper insight in the system and the final design of the system that meets customer requirements as well as standards and regulatory requirements.
(Figure 4 - HW-SW levels)
In this sense, a full analysis of the system has been performed to prove that system requirements have completely and correctly been understood and that all technical requirements are implemented. Simulations thermal and vibrations have been carried out and a safety analysis has been performed to prove the reliability of an IMASAT node.
(Figure 5 - Thermal simulation results)
Concerning the test bench, its technical, performance, operational and support characteristics and the external communication interfaces have been defined in order to be able to debug the hardware and software assumptions
(Figure 6 - IMASAT Test Bench - Architecture Overview)

During the 2nd reporting period.

it has been reached to an agreement on the environmental tests to be performed, by prioritizing TM (Topic Manager) and CLUE needs, confirming the tests’ categories, considering the necessary auxiliary equipment, and scheduling the laboratory tests. Three companies were requested for quotation and schedule estimation on the agreed environmental tests.
it has been attained an agreement on the form and contents on PikeOS training provided by SYSGO.
IMASAT Computing Node prototype and its Test Bench have been developed/manufactured (Figure 7 and Figure 8). Three versions of the Computing Node have been developed (v1, v2, new version).
the Built-in-Test (BIT) of IMASAT prototype has been defined, including; (PBIT), (CBIT), (IBIT) and HMR.
a NXP T2080 dev kit was delivered to TM, along with the necessary support to configure PikeOS on it.
the acceptance tests procedures of the Computing Node have been defined.
Description of the expected final results and their potential impacts and use.

IMASAT pursues the definition of an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture and the basic building blocks of a highly scalable system for safety critical applications with the aim of supporting a fly-by-wire system.
IMASAT project will contribute to the safety and efficiency of small aircraft operation by enabling the implementation of fly-by-wire systems, towards a More Electric Aircraft, thus further benefiting from the use of such technology increasing flight and operation efficiency and lowering environmental impact through:
• lower computational node cost, when compared to current nodes, it will reduce the cost approximately by a third.
• lower maintenance costs, when compared to mechanical controls, along with a better fault isolation and test.
• the increase of the flight stability (safety) derived from the application electronically computed control laws as part of the fly-by-wire system.
• a save in fuel through the reduction of the weight, size and energy of power systems (electric vs. hydraulic) and actuators (EHA, EMA vs. SHA) required to actuate flight controls.

IMASAT will contribute to the revitalization of the European small aircraft industry by generating and delivering high added value knowledge in cutting-edge technology fields, namely avionics, historically dominated by American companies. IMASAT is hence an outstanding opportunity for the European Union to develop the first avionic system that relies completely on European technologies, which would have important strategic advantages.
IMASAT impact into society can be measured in terms of number of employments generated by increasing the competitiveness of the Andalusian regions. In fact, this project would impact to empower a group of companies that are developing aerospace systems in the PTA (Technological Park of Andalusia): AERTEC and CLUE as SME, in collaboration with other local suppliers. In addition IMASAT is 100% aligned with the RIS3 Area “Advanced Transport Systems in the aeronautics, aerospace and naval industries”, part of Andalusia’s Smart Specialization Strategies
Figure 8 - TB With LRU
Figure 2 - IMASAT chassis
Figure 5 - Thermal simulation results
Figure 1 - Overview
Figure 6 - TB - Architecture
Figure 7 - LRU
Figure 4 - HW-SW levels
Figure 3 - IMASAT test bench