The use of aircraft has grown exponentially over many decades and with the use as come so much modern technology, systems, capabilities, improvements, safety, and efficiencies.Read more
One of the efficiencies on modern aircraft is the use of what is known as modular avionics or integrated modular avionics. The avionics is a term referenced to describe the electronic equipment that is fitted to an aircraft.
Older aircraft such as the Airbus A320 series or the Boeing 767 used multiple different computers for specific tasks.
There would be multiple of the same computers then for redundancy also – you might have some computers looking after the flight management systems, some might be controlling power supply and generation, more might be concerned with bleed air and air conditioning systems for example. While the concept is proven and works well with high reliability there is a lot of weight, expense and resource required for the system.
Modular avionics is a different approach; if we think about each of the tasks that the separate computers perform as a functional piece of software then we begin to understand modular avionics.
We can remove the multiple computers and replace with fewer but centralised and shared processors / computers. The computers that are shared can carry out multiple software functions and as such achieve all the tasks we did before, but with shared resource and less required separate computers and weight.
One example of this being implemented is on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner where there is a system called the common core system (CCS). The CCS is the shared resource that brings together multiple processors and offers better reliability with less cost and weight.
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