Airbus Helicopters to use Ada for drone

Airbus Helicopters to use Ada for drone

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Airbus Helicopters chose to use GNAT Pro Ada for PowerPC on the VxWorks 6.x/Cert real time operating system (RTOS) based on several criteria, including ease of integration into the existing development infrastructure, the ability to develop monitoring algorithms, and the capacity to help certify the software up to DO-178C Design Assurance Level B. 

The first prototype undertook tethered air tests last November on a 30m cable and the project is developing free flight, and then progressively opening the flight envelope. One intended use for the drone, which is powered by a diesel engine and has an eight hour range, is to operate from ships. The landing particularly requires complex controls.   

“We selected AdaCore and the Ada language because we believe that this technology and related tools will increase the maintainability and quality of our software and make it easier to provide some evidence for certain software certification objectives,” said Matthieu Vatinet, Head of Embedded Software Products for Airbus Helicopters. “The quality of AdaCore’s support was an important advantage, and another anticipated benefit was the ease of developing mature code.”

“Knowing that the Airbus Helicopters team needed to develop highly reliable and safe code for their VSR700 prototype project, we were extremely pleased that they selected Ada and AdaCore,” said Jamie Ayre, Commercial Director at AdaCore. “The GNAT Pro Ada tool suite offers exceptional verification abilities that will help Airbus to detect problems early in their development process when they are easiest and least costly to correct. And our support services will address any questions or issues that may arise.”

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