Software platform for Airborne Wind Energy generation system

20th April 2016
Joe Bush

Currently under development is Ampyx Power’s Airborne Wind Energy system with a PowerPlane - a tethered aircraft that converts wind into economical green electricity. The company has selected LynxOS-178 as its software platform.

Erik van der Heide, Head of Engineering at Ampyx Power, commented: “To be able to market our technology successfully, it is crucial that we comply with the highest safety standards. Not only should the level of the quality and reliability of our system be high, it needs to be measurable and controllable as well. We have chosen to be able to certify our product according to stringent civil aviation safety guidelines, so we need a software platform that supports us in achieving acceptance by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and other relevant aviation authorities. The fact that LynxOS-178 is a commercial off-the-Shelf (COTS) operating system which has received acceptance for reusability from the FAA for DO-178 certification, and from EASA, was an important criterion in our selection process.”

He continued, “The Ampyx Power system represents an exceptional design challenge. The aircraft can fly completely autonomously. PowerPlanes take-off, fly and land autonomously from a platform, by utilising a vast array of sensor suites which provide the auto-pilot with critical information to perform the task safely. It is designed to spend unusually long periods in the air - it can remain airborne 24 hours a day seven days a week if conditions are suitable, and is designed for a service life of 20 years. The aircraft needs a software platform of exceptional stability and reliability. LynxOS-178 fully meets that requirement. During the selection process and subsequent development work, we enjoyed a close and productive relationship with the Lynx team.”

Lee Cresswell, EMEA Sales Director, Lynx Software Technologies, added: “We are very excited to be offered the opportunity to contribute to a unique system that will create economical renewable energy for many years to come. Ampyx Power’s technology is an excellent and highly innovative use case for LynxOS-178, demonstrating its ability to help design teams achieve the accreditations they need to get safety critical airborne systems to market quickly and with minimal risk.”

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