The Sentiris AV1 PCI Express Mezzanine Card (XMC), from Quantum3D, was developed to address the ongoing needs of high safety- and security-critical applications such as primary flight instrumentation and multi-level security (MLS) systems. Certifiable to DO-178B for software and DO-254 for hardware, Sentiris AV1 is the first XMC to offer an obsolescence-proof design. This is accomplished by leveraging a field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based video- and graphics-processing core instead of the traditional approach of using dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs), which are rapidly made obsolete by end-of-life (EOL) announcements.
The hardware of the Sentiris AV1, the core of which is Xilinx’s Virtex 5 FPGA, is programmed as an embedded GPU that can be upgraded over the lifetime of the product. The Quantum3D’s approach is different from traditional GPUs, however, in that it has fully DO-254 certifiable firmware rather than the traditional approach of obtaining a hardware waiver based on a statistical time test. While originally designed for applications such as flight-certified image generation, Sentiris AV1 is also applicable for other uses, such as real-time imaging for medical applications.
The product’s video- and graphics-processing capabilities with analog and HD-SDI video outputs enable three-dimensional graphics in cockpits and mission-critical applications in particular. Its upgradability means that, for the first time, safety-critical applications can be rapidly implemented without the fear of obsolescence as GPUs are quickly EOLed when new GPUs come to market. This is crucial for embedded applications requiring long lifecycles, robust performance, reliable operation and design flexibility to address future needs.
Integrators can use Sentiris AV1 with any operating system or CPU environment because the driver and all other software have been written from the ground up with DO-178B practices. This is in contrast to commercial GPUs, which are typically limited to Windows, Linux and x86 architectures with no access to source code.
In addition to its safety-critical DO-178B and DO-254 certifiability, Sentiris AV1 meets the shock, vibration, temperature and other requirements of MIL-STD-810F, making it well suited for the harsh and demanding environmental conditions posed by military and civilian field-computing implementations. Sentiris AV1 offers 512MB of ECC-protected DDR2 memory, dual RGB and dual HD-SDI outputs and eight lanes of PCI Express. The product comes standard as a conduction-cooled XMC.
More information: Quantum3D