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Abu Dhabi Research Centre Announces Integration of Secure PX4 Stack into RISC-V Based Drone

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The Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC) at Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) today announced the launch of its Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC-V) based drone flight controller that leverages the Centre’s own secure PX4 stack. The centre claims to have marked a milestone in making RISC-V based UAV systems a reality through this successful testing and validation of the RISC-V + the secure PX4 stack system.

Earlier this year, the Centre became a strategic member of RISC-V International, a non-profit organisation controlled by its members, which directs the future development and drives the adoption of RISC-V free and open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). SSRC is focused on building an RISC-V based secure flight computer system. Today’s milestone is a major signpost on this path, with the Centre using a commercially available RISC-V development platform to port the DroneCode PX4 open source software to RISC-V.

Dr Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, chief researcher, SSRC, said, “The DroneCode community is the leading open-source community of PX4 Autopilot and fight controller hardware code and specification, respectively. A significant part of the work in realising this project required the porting of NuttX real-time OS and PX4 flight controller software to the RISC-V platform. SSRC has already included some of the planned security improvements into its existing PX4 software stack, and we will continue to develop this software and contribute the modifications back to open source.”

As a follow-up, SSRC said it will continue to improve the security and resilience of the open source PX4 flight control software stack and NuttX real-time OS in collaboration with open source community. Furthermore, the Centre has presented a roadmap that includes improving memory protection of NuttX OS and PX4, protecting data on the removable media and utilising commercially available Root-of-Trust components.

Earlier this year, the Centre became a strategic member of RISC-V International, a non-profit organisation controlled by its members, which directs the future development and drives the adoption of RISC-V free and open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA).

 

 

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