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A step towards the future of avionics solutions Avionics systems are an integral part of modern aircraft and perform an ever-widening range of functions in today’s planes. Thierry MARET tells us about how the ASHLEY project helped to lay the foundations for the development of the next generation of avionics systems, research which will help to boost the wider European aerospace industry Many of today’s avionics systems have their roots as analogue control systems, yet they have since evolved through digital computing power to a point where they play an increasing number of important roles in modern commercial and military aircraft, including in communications, navigation and flight control. The early avionics systems were implemented as a system specific architecture, yet as the number of avionics functions increased, the architecture has grown in size and complexity, which has had an overwhelming impact on cost and the efficiency of maintenance. These are issues that the ASHLEY project, a research consortium bringing together 36 organisations from 13 countries across Europe, was formed to address, helping European industry adapt to the changing commercial marketplace. The ASHLEY project was built on the work of other initiatives in laying the foundations for a more efficient avionics platform solution, carrying out research across a number of different areas, including photonics, database services and remote resources solutions, with the wider goal of boosting the European aerospace industry.

ASHLEY Avionics Systems Hosted on a distributed modular electronics Large scale dEmonstrator for multiple tYpe of aircraft The ASHLEY project is a EU 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement no ACP2GA- 2013-605442. Thierry MARET, Project Coordinator THALES Avionics 105, avenue du Général Eisenhower BP 63647 31036 Toulouse (France) T: +351 214 228 100 E: Thierry.Maret@ W:

Integrated Modular Avionics The IMA concept (Integrated Modular Avionics), a term to describe the architecture underpinning a distributed real-time computer network aboard an aircraft, was integral to this agenda. Developed in the early ‘90s as a means of simplifying avionics software development, the IMA concept first evolved into IMA1G, now IMA2G is emerging, providing the foundation for the

Scale aircraft representative demonstrator, which provided a means to assess the processes, methods and tools that have resulted from the project’s work. Much has already been achieved in the project, including the introduction of an avionics power line communications solution, and passive optical sensing and power-bylight technologies, which could help reduce installation and maintenance costs. New

The early avionics systems were implemented as a federated architecture, yet as the number of avionics functions has increased, the federated architecture has grown in size and complexity next generation of avionics solutions. A set of IMA2G concepts have already been validated - researchers in the project worked to build on this further, consolidating and extending results from previous independent projects. A lot of attention was devoted in the project to extending the Distributed Modular Electronics (DME) concept in particular, going beyond the current state-of-the-art and opening up opportunities for technical innovation across a number of different areas. This included extending DME concepts and solutions to other aircraft domains and securing data distribution services, areas which could have a significant impact on the ongoing development of the aerospace industry as it seeks to adapt to emerging challenges. The innovations developed in the course of ASHLEY were validated at the ASHLEY Large

resources have been developed and validated to extend the DME with hosting capabilities for new services such as databases and communication managers while establishing strong data security measures. In the meantime, an integrated tool framework for integration and configuration management has been defined and demonstrated. The ASHLEY results will translate into more flexible avionics architectures, lower weight and installation constraints for the overall system platform, and shorter development lead-time, turning IMA2G into a key enabler for more competitive aircraft systems in future generations. This research will help put European aviation in a stronger position, illustrating the depth of research and technical expertise on the continent and helping Europe maintain its place at the forefront of aviation innovation.

Thierry Maret is a certified Senior Project Manager (IPMA Level B) at THALES Avionics, a world-leading provider of onboard systems for the civil aerospace market. He graduated from SUPELEC in 1991 and has an Engineering degree, majoring in electronics. He is currently the coordinator of ACROSS and ASHLEY, two research and development projects co-funded by European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme. © AIRBUS S.A.S. 2009 - All rights reserved - Concept by EIAI


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