Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are helping the U.S. military make key changes in how aircraft electronic systems, called avionics, are produced. The effort focuses on modifying the design of avionics software, especially the ways in which it interfaces with an aircraft’s hardware and other software.
Douglas Woods, left, a research scientist leading the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) project for the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), discusses the technology with research-team member George Riley, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek)
The work is part of the U.S. Navy’s Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) project. The Navy’s FACE team is working with the FACE consortium, a government, industry and academia consortium managed by The Open Group®, to develop a new technical standard that governs how avionics software communicates with other avionics software and hardware components – to control aircraft sensors, effectors and other mission critical systems to deliver warfighting capability.
Georgia Tech’s support of the FACE project is funded by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Air Combat Electronics Program Office (PMA-209) and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC). Georgia Tech’s work principally involves validating and maturing the FACE Technical Standard by producing reference software built according to the new FACE standards.
“The FACE standard lets us streamline software production and software upgrades, which are vital for keeping U.S. pilots safe and delivering our military capabilities,” said Douglas Woods, a research scientist leading the work at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), Georgia Tech’s applied research arm. “In tackling this important work, we created a one-Georgia Tech team, uniting expertise from both GTRI and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“Basically, the FACE standard dictates how everything should fit together,” Woods said. “The FACE Technical Standard lets developers connect software and hardware in a uniform way, so that one software application can work with a variety of different hardware.”