The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) sets guidelines designed for use in the development of avionics software.
Because of the safety-critical nature of aerospace and avionics systems, the RTCA's standards are very rigorous. They provide a concrete set of requirements designed to ensure a satisfactory degree of confidence in avionics systems.
The current standard document in use for this purpose is called DO-178B. The first version of the standard guidelines, called DO-178, was published in 1982.
It has since been updated three times. In 1985, the first revised version, called DO-178A, was released and it was followed by DO-178B, which was published in 1992. The current standard is called DO-178C, and it was published in December 2011.
The new guidelines are expected to incorporate several changes that have taken place in software development since DO-178B was formulated. Chief among these are adaptation to object-oriented software and programming languages, software modeling as a verification technique and formal methods for dynamic testing.
According to Avionics Intelligence, more than 1,000 people have been involved in the process of formulating the new DO-178C standard.
See also: ED-12