Why changing?

Since 1992, the aviation industry and certification authorities around the world have used the considerations in DO-178B/ED-12B as an acceptable means of compliance for software approval in the certification of airborne systems and equipment. As experience was gained in the use of DO-178B/ED-12B, questions were raised regarding the document’s content and its application. Some of these questions were addressed through the work of SC-190/WG-52 in the development of DO-248B/ED-94B. However, DO-248B/ED-94B does not contain additional guidance for use as compliance, but only clarifications. Additionally, advances in hardware and software technology resulted in software development methodologies and issues which were not adequately addressed in DO-178B/ED-12B or DO-248B/ED-94B.

In response to these developments, RTCA and EUROCAE formed a Software Ad Hoc committee to update the documents to meet several goals:

  • Address emerging software trends and technologies
  • Implement an approach that can change with the technology.
  • Provide clear and consistent ties with the systems and safety processes.
  • Rationalize the applicable guidance (from CAST papers, FAA orders, Certification Review Items ( CRI), etc.) by incorporation into a consensus-approved document
  • Other improvements were proposed by industrial partners:
  • Enhance the guidance for the use of COTS and alternate means,
  • Propose a more appropriate tool qualification guidance and clarify the certification credit of a qualified tool,
  • State that formal methods are an acceptable alternate means of compliance,
  • Provide clear guidance on the use of model based development