System, software certification issues to be addressed by new conference

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Europe's first international conference dedicated specifically to the certification issues of aircraft systems, software and embedded electronics will be held this fall in Toulouse with the aim of organizing and coordinating all industry players involved in qualification.

Overseen by French modifications and design company Aeroconseil, a long-time partner to Airbus, the so-called 'Certification Together' conference is being launched "at a time when the requirements for aeronautical certification are changing rapidly, whether for systems, software, embedded electronics or changing international standards", says Aeroconseil.

The three-day conference will deal with "the most topical issues concerning certification: the roadmap published by the certification authorities on changes to regulations, the use of off-the-shelf electronic components in aircraft, [and] the use of model-based design techniques in software development", adds Aeroconseil.

A Certification Together initiative was set up at the end of 2008, with several partners and the participation of sector-related schools, R&D laboratories and institutions such as the Aerospace Valley Cluster, the DRIRE (regional directorate for industry, research and the environment) and the Midi-Pyrénées Regional Council. The initiative was borne out of the earlier success of user groups in Europe, including a group that tackled the RTCA DO-254 standard for the development of airborne electronic hardware. DO-254 became applicable to recent programmes, including the Airbus A380.

In addition to Aeroconseil, Certification Together partners include EADS subsidiary Apsys, which has helped ensure the safety of embedded systems, software and complex digital hardware for a number of aircraft and systems in the EADS group and its partners; Thales Group subsidiary GERAC as well as consultancies ACG Solutions, Capgemini and Patmos Engineering Services.

A spokeswoman for the Certification Together initiative says representatives from the certification community, including from "the FAA, EASA, Airbus, Eurocopter, Rolls-Royce, Goodrich and Thales" will take part in the event. Aeroconseil is also hopeful of attracting a speaker from Panasonic Avionics.

The conference is open only to people dedicated to the certification process.