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Wind River VxWorks 653 and Wind River Professional Services enable AgustaWestland to design, develop, build and test unmanned rotor craft in record time.

Project Zero, Augusta Westland
Project Zero, Augusta Westland

Wind River, developer of embedded software for intelligent connected systems, has announced that AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is using Wind River VxWorks 653 Platform for its revolutionary “Project Zero” tilt rotor technology incubator.

“Project Zero” is an unmanned all-electric tilt rotor, designed to hover like a helicopter and convert to a fixed wing aircraft in forward flight, giving insight into the future of advanced rotorcraft. AgustaWestland’s technology incubator is the result of close collaboration between Finmeccanica companies, including Selex ES, which contributed to the starting phases of the project, its implementation, and ultimately to its acceptance. Selex ES has designed and manufactured entirely new units such as: the Navigation Sensor Unit (NSU) and the Flight Control Computer (FCC), elements that are key to the avionics of Project Zero.

AgustaWestland turned to Wind River for its VxWorks 653 product, a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platform for delivering safety-critical, integrated modular avionics (IMA) applications. Part of the Wind River product portfolio for trusted systems, VxWorks 653 is compliant with ARINC 653, which implements ARINC 653 partitioning of applications. Using an open standards-based approach in conjunction with Wind River’s Professional Services team, AgustaWestland was able to design, develop, build and test its unmanned rotor craft in twelve months.

IHLS – Israel Homeland Security

“Wind River’s proven solutions for avionics combined with its professional services expertise contributed to the development of Project Zero in record time with an innovative approach by leveraging market-leading technology,” said Dr. James Wang, vice president of research and technology at AgustaWestland. “Wind River technology was selected because of its hard real-time, portability, reusability and robustness characteristics, and the company’s strong ecosystem helped us to save tremendous time in the development process.”

Alex Wilson, Aviation Business Development Director at Wind River, was one of the speakers at the recent Israeli AUS&R 2013 Air Show, a unique event focusing on unmanned systems. According to Wilson “A testament to the power of open standards in aerospace systems, VxWorks 653 is used in over 300 programs, by over 165 customers and on over 60 aircraft, it is gratifying to know that Wind River products and services have enabled the development of yet another revolutionary unmanned vehicle, making it extremely easy to modify the system in order to support changes in customer requirements without impacting the overall robustness of the solution.”

The company’s reliable and secure software has served as a key technology for countless autonomous systems around the globe, including the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, Northrop Grumman X-47B, unmanned aircraft, CIRA’s FTB-1 reusable unmanned spacecraft, and the nEUROn Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle demonstrator, among others.