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AS-DISCO - Audio Suite for Disruptive Cockpit Demonstrator

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AS-DISCO (AS-DISCO - Audio Suite for Disruptive Cockpit Demonstrator)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-03-31

AS-DISCO project which main objective is to define and implement IMA concept for Audio Communications Manager. This project will consequently contribute to the innovative and disruptive new aircraft cockpit concepts validation on LPA-Platform 3, by building an application for the integrated demonstrator, where several avionics innovative functions, as well to modern interface technologies, are being developed. Therefore, AS-DISCO project attends to Clean Sky aim to reduce flight crew workload, improve pilot situational awareness, and support disruptive and innovative cockpit operations.

To achieve the specific objective of this project that is in achieving TRL6 of the enabling software technology to meet the desired functionality during the integration on DISCO bench; AS-DISCO will consider Clean Sky targets such as integration within innovative multimodal Human Machine Interface (HMI), based upon visual, tactile, voice, … and innovative digital functions for audio management to deliver the necessary robustness, flexibility and versatility, and accommodate them for new generation of systems. The AERTEC development AS-DISCO will be integrated with Remote Systems, such as HMI, cabin systems, etc. With only the need to update the static routing tables, the associated IDL and the inclusion of the corresponding operating system drivers.

Under the requirements and specifications stablished by the Topic Manager, AERTEC will be developed a serious of models to verify the correct behaviour and the system response to different scenarios using MBSE tools, firstly in TRL5 level. AERTEC will apply Test-Based-Model (TBM) and software-in-the-loop (SIL) methodology to the entire system. The modelling will also facilitate the development of “degraded mode identification”, “reconfiguration patterns” criteria and AFDX protocol.

After a decision gate (if GO decision) the model will be updated to TRL6 requirements and specifications, and the activities to perform the full functionalities of the AS-DISCO. Verification and validation process will be performed also in Platform3 System demonstrator. Evidences and results will be collected in a report to evaluate the maturity of the AS-DISCO development at TRL6 level.
During WP1, the aim was to elaborate the partner system specification according to the TM specifications, this input was updated with new requirements, and this continued updating lead to a slight delay in the delivery of the WP’s deliverable.

WP2 has been focused on the elaboration of the verification test plan to ensure the compliance of the prototype with the specification resulting from WP1 work. Functional and performance verification tests have been addressed

WP3 has been focused on the modelling and simulation of the AFDX-based (Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet) communication between the different system components. The main aim of this WP is to ensure the fulfilment of the requirements and specifications of the development.

As part of WP4 the target application was fully prototyped following the specification and preliminary design. Three scenarios were considered for the prototyping depending on the configuration of the hosting PCs: different PCs for HMI (based on containers technology, Docker) and IMA partition, same PC with the IMA partition based on native Linux and same PC with the IMA partition based on Docker.
The last phase of this WP4 involved the verification and validation of the prototype based on the verification tests defined as part of WP2. Test results were reported with the associated evidence for each of the tests performed, the prototype was compliant with all the tests.

In WP5 AERTEC has to receive confirmation that results are successful, after little changes in ACM developed by AERTEC. AERTEC has to received document from Topic Manager, document with the results obtained in the DISCO Testbench with ACM-DISCO developed by AERTEC.

WP6 consists in the support to integrate new specifications in ACM DISCO application is ongoing due to new equipment that will be connected to ACM-DISCO.

WP11 is focused on the overall project management. As part of this WP two key deliverables have been elaborated, the Project Management Plan and the Dissemination and Exploitation Plan.
AS-DISCO presents a new architecture for voice and data routing unit in the form of communication management unit, based on IMA that faces the following technological challenges:
➢ Low weight, less power, low volume, high mean time between failure and low mean time to repair.
➢ Automatic routing over the best available air-ground link, reducing the error and workload experienced.
➢ The digitized and compressed voice message would include the address of the source and the destination, appropriate security authentication information, priority assertions, and any other required information.
➢ Automatic voice frequency selection instead of current pilot’s routing based on the defined flight plan and then by ATC center request.
➢ Replace or at least reduce analogic audio information, with digital data.
➢ Future digital interfaced means and full digital audio concept (End to end between operator in cockpit up to Radio Baseband – Software Defined Radio concept presentation).
➢ Possible autonomous frequency selection: Use of below function can allow an autonomous frequency selection to alleviate crew workload.
➢ Digital audio management: Function to route digital audio signal and manage dynamically equipment availability (out of range or failure management)
➢ Compatibility with multi modal Human Machine Interface.

Expected results until the end of the project and potential impacts
The expected results from AS-DISCO project will definitely improve and accelerate the development of the innovative and disruptive new aircraft cockpit concepts for aerial vehicles in Europe promoted by Clean Sky program. LPA IADP-Platform 3 objective is to develop and evaluate innovative and disruptive new aircraft cockpit concept and hence increase flight safety and operational reliability.
IMA paradigm by itself will increase product (avionics) lifecycle cost-efficiency, by providing following features; standardization, reusability and modules interchangeability. IMA architecture ensures scalability allowing for the adding or subtracting of building blocks, by defining a minimum number of module types supporting avionics systems functions, including, as requested within this project, this audio suite. Consequently, AS-DISCO communication application will be highly scalable and will contribute to the adaption to IMA2G+ [2]. The solution developed will have an optimized architecture, fault tolerance and reconfiguration capability, that in terms of air/ground radio link availability, security, data rate and data integrity will mean seamless operations (less disruptions). Demonstrating the feasibility to manage the likely growth of the European air transport and contribute to innovate and improve the whole Air Transport System (ATS).
Moreover, AS-DISCO has a clear goal to promote flexible communications and reduce the crew workload related with voice and data communications between cockpit and the ground. AS-DISCO will enhance security and safety during all phases of the flight and ground operations. Safety margins will be improved thanks to greater support given to the crew while flying in difficult conditions.