UAV Development & Certification Best Practices
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
by Vance HILDERMAN (CEO, AFuzion)
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:
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)