UAV Development & Certification Best Practices

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

by Vance HILDERMAN (CEO, AFuzion)



ABSTRACT

Practice: we’ve all engaged in it: piano, math, golf, flying … Usually practice involves a modicum of coaching, self-help, and repetition. In UAV & UAS system development however, there is little time for “practice”; instead, everything counts. UAV development is measured in months, not years like typical aircraft. And now, worldwide aviation authorities are increasingly requiring UAV’s to be certified according to a variety of standards including DO-178C, ARP-4754A, ARP-4761, FAA Part 107, etc. And the UAV/UAS result has little margin for error: schedules, budgets, and particularly safety are all on the line. How then can “practice” be reconciled with “UAV development”? The best answer is to understand the breadth of worldwide UAV/UAS development/certification and glean the best knowledge and solutions from the aviation ecosystem. Welcome to UAV/UAS Development & Certification Best Practices.


In UAV’s and UAS’s, there are tradeoffs between payload, range, speed, altitude, duration, and costs. The vast breadth of UAV/UAS types being developed today belies the simple fact that many companies prioritize these tradeoffs differently. However, the variations in UAV/UAS system/software development practices are much more constrained: everyone wants to minimize the following attributes:

  • Cost

  • Schedule

  • Risk

  • Defects

  • Re-use Difficulty

  • Certification Roadblocks

The following pages provide the DO-178C Best Practices which can minimize all six of these important attributes in your development.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mr. Vance HILDERMAN (CEO, AFuzion Inc.)

  • BSEE, MSEE, MBA

  • Founder of two of the world's largest avionics development services companies

  • Developer of the world's first training in DO-178 and trainer of over 8,000 engineers in 45 countries in DO-178, DO-254, DO-278, and DO-200A

  • Primary author of the world's first, and best selling, book on DO-178 and DO-254 (available at bookstores worldwide)







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