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The Airliner flight software is the foundation of the Windhover product line.  Airliner takes care of all the on board operations for the drone.  Airliner flight software has a heritage flying long duration autonomous missions for NASA.  You can think of the Airliner components as the members of a spacecraft crew.  This crew is equipped to operate autonomously for long durations and this is the goal for the Airliner product as well.  On a spacecraft the crew consists of the pilot, navigator, commander, and on board mission specialists that perform specialized functions related to the mission.  A similar view can be used to describe the components of Airliner.

Airliner components

  • Core  - Provides abstracted application interface to the operating system and the board level hardware.  Subcomponents include:
    • Essential Services - Provides numerous services include application start/stop/restart/reload, memory pool management, and performance monitoring.
    • Event Services - Provides event recording and filtering.
    • Software Bus - Publish/subscribe software bus for inter-application communication.
    • Table Services - Provides in flight configuration table verification, loading, and reloading.  This service allows applications to be decoupled from their configuration.
    • Time Services - Provides time synchronization.
    • File Services - Provides file system utilities like logging.
    • OSAL (Operating System Abstraction Layer) - Provides an abstraction layer for commonly used operating system functions, allowing applications to be more portable and less implementation specific.

  • Applications
    • Framework/Mission Applications - Legacy spaceflight applications not specific to flight control include:
      • File Delivery - Provides file transfer, both drone to ground / ground to drone, as well as drone to drone.  This includes both guaranteed (receipt required) delivery and non-guaranteed (in the blind) delivery.
      • Command Ingest - Provides ground to drone command services.  This includes command validation, two-step commanding, command logging, and command deserialization.
      • Checksum Services - Monitors the drone for memory corruption.  This is typically only necessary for drones that operate at high altitude or radiation environments.
      • Data Storage - Provides runtime reconfigurable data logging, quota management, and log rolling.
      • External Application - Provides the ability to run applications and commands external to the Airliner ecosystem.  Typically used to launch Pyliner scripts.
      • File Management - Provides a remote interface to the drone file system.  Remotely commandable operations include directory listings, copy, delete, rename, move, etc...
      • Housekeeping - Provides the ability to modify the downlinked telemetry at runtime.
      • Limit Checker - Table driven application that allows users to provide simple automation.  Typically used to provide fault isolation and recovery operations.
      • Memory Dwell - Provides the ability to monitor specific areas of memory in real time.
      • Memory Manager - Provides the bulk memory dump and memory load capability.
      • Stored Command - Provides simple automation in the form of sequence of commands that can be released by command.
      • Scheduler - Provides rate monotonic scheduling for all applications.  Configuration is runtime reconfigurable and can be modified remotely by command.
      • Telemetry Output - Provides priority based telemetry downlink.

    • Flight Controland Monitor Applications - Applications for closed-loop flight control, basic stabilization, navigation, collision avoidance, and higher level command decision.  These include:
      • Device drivers to actuators and sensors.  These include but are not limited to accelerometers, gyros, GPS receivers, and motor controllers.
      • Attitude Control - Provides stabilization required of even manual control flight.
      • Attitude Estimator - Fuses sensor data together to determine vehicle attitude (i.e. yaw, pitch, roll)
      • Battery Monitor - Monitors the battery and calculates availability.
      • Land Detector - Monitors incoming sensors and signals internal software when landing, takeoff, and free fall are detected.
      • Navigator - Provides simple automated control like Takeoff and Return to Launch.
      • Position Control - Provides altitude and position control modes of flight.
      • Position Estimator - Fuses sensor data together to determine vehicle position. (i.e. altitude, latitude, longitude)
      • Video Control - Provides command and control to on board video sources.
      • Vehicle Manager - Performs overall control over vehicle modes.  Vehicle Manager notifies all other applications when the vehicle is armed and disarmed.  Vehicle Manager also determines when its legal to do mode transitions, and notifies all the applications when a mode changes.

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