Industry's First DO-254/ED-80 Certifiable Soft Core Processor Saves Thales Nearly Two Years in Development Time
San Jose, Calif., December 20, 2010—Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) today announced the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified a safety-critical avionics system that includes a DO-254/ED-80-certifiable version of Altera's Nios® II embedded processor. Thales Avionics implemented a safety-critical version of the Nios II embedded processor in an Altera® HardCopy® ASIC for use in its family of integrated electronic standby instruments rather than developing a custom ASIC solution. Leveraging Altera's DO-254/ED-80-certifiable processor allowed Thales to significantly reduce overall system development time when developing their family of integrated electronic standby instruments.
“When we began defining our integrated electronic standby instrument family, we determined it would be too costly and time consuming to develop a custom ASIC that meets the RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 objectives,” said Jerome Papineau, product manager at Thales Avionics. “The integration of a safety-critical Nios II embedded processor with a HardCopy ASIC saved nearly two years off our development while also saving considerable costs. The processor provides us with a compelling solution that meets our performance and system requirements while allowing us to manage system obsolescence. With its RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 level-B compliance determination, the Nios II embedded processor can be integrated into our system with confidence.”
Altera's HardCopy ASICs offer customers a low-cost, low-risk and low-power migration path to take their FPGA prototype designs to volume production. The use of HardCopy ASICs provides Thales with improved single-event upset (SEU) immunity while also giving Thales pin-to-pin, functional and timing compatibility with the FPGA prototype design.
The development of a safety-critical version of Altera's Nios II soft-core processor is the result of the close partnership and cooperation between Thales, HCELL Engineering and Altera, which dates back to 2006. The RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 compliance package of the Nios II embedded processor provides avionics equipment manufacturers a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) microprocessor that can be quickly and easily implemented in safety-critical avionics applications. Leveraging the Nios II embedded processor in these systems helps manufacturers comply with safety standards while dramatically lowering development time and costs and eliminating the threat of processor obsolescence.
“Today's announcement significantly reduces the risk barrier for customers wanting to implement a soft-core processor into their safety-critical avionics system,” said Amr El-Ashmawi, senior marketing manager in Altera's military business unit. “Having the EASA certify Thales's integrated electronic standby instruments allow us to clearly demonstrate the significant reduction in cost, development time and risk that Altera's DO-254-certifiable Nios II processor provides.”
About the Safety-Critical Version of Nios II Processor
Altera's Nios II embedded processor is a configurable, 32-bit FPGA-based soft microprocessor used in a wide variety of applications and end markets, including military, aerospace and avionics. The safety-critical version of the processor core includes complete RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 compliance, with source code and documentation such as a plan for hardware aspects of certification (PHAC), a hardware design document (HDD) and a hardware accomplishment summary (HAS). Airborne electronic hardware designers complying with the DO-254 standard can leverage the Nios II soft processor core while minimizing obsolescence in systems that typically have long life cycles. Nios II embedded processors can be implemented within Altera's portfolio of Cyclone® series and Stratix® series FPGAs and HardCopy series ASICs. For more information about Altera's DO-254 strategy, visit www.altera.com/end-markets/military-aerospace/do-254/mil-do-254.html.
Altera® programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost-effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets. Find out more about Altera's FPGA, CPLD and ASIC devices at www.altera.com. Follow Altera via Facebook, RSS and Twitter.