To maintain a quality and high reliability, the Airliner ecosystem is developed to a process documented in the Software Test Plan which is part of the Windhover Checkride software certification program. The Checkride Software Test Plan explains how the various products in the Windhover ecosystem are tested and used for certification.
The Checkride standards are based on the NASA NPR 7150.2B, Software Engineering Requirements and the FAA DO-178C, Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification. These standards start with classifying software and then outlining process requirements commensurate with the classification. The UAS software universe presents some new challenges for these classification systems so we created a new classification approach that incorporates the special circumstances that the UAS software universe presents. The Software Test Plan defines software safety requirements, discusses safety related software architecture features, and then ties these into the classification process. Each classification of software was then mapped to processes requirements of the NASA NPR 7150.2B.
The Software Test Plan shows how the software and tools in the Windhover ecosystem will meet the Checkride standards. Each product in the Windhover software ecosystem is taken through a test progression showing what techniques and tools will be utilized at each level as well as what artifacts and reviews will be conducted. Coding standards and peer review checklists are also provided.
This Checkride Software Test Plan will be the basis for the test program that will be executed to certify the products within the Windhover ecosystem software. Our goal is that this approach, or one very similar, will be used by the FAA to certify software for autonomous use in the national airspace.