The promised future of multi-core processors in avionics systems
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- Sander, O., Bapp, F., Dieudonne, L. et al. CEAS Aeronaut J (2017) 8: 143. doi:10.1007/s13272-016-0228-x
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Modern airplanes need to satisfy rising requirements in terms of functionality and fuel efficiency per passenger. Therefore, an ever-increasing amount of electronics is being integrated in the airplanes either by adding new functionalities or by exchanging mechanical systems by more complex and highly integrated mechatronic ones, optimizing the space, weight and energy used by the airplane infrastructure. Embedded computers are the base of this development and have to perform more and more tasks with at least the same safety characteristics as before. In the last 15 years, different functions traditionally realized in separated devices must be grouped together in one device to limit the ever-increasing number of computers in new airplanes. For safety reasons, this has only been done based on single-core processors up to now: the multi-core technology cannot insure the same level of confidence as single-core controllers—it was mainly invented to gain performance. But the performance of the current single-core processors adequate for embedded and safety–critical applications is limited and, therefore, restricts the grouping of applications. The automotive industry is confronted with similar but still stronger increasing performance challenges. In this sector, the multi-core processors are already considered as the only known solution to fulfill the rising requirements and are, therefore, expected to completely replace single-core processors in a few years. Specific multi-core processor architectures and functionalities improving safety capabilities have recently been developed. The goal of this contribution is to show how the avionics might benefit from using these safety-oriented automotive multi-core processors.