The engineers employed by Rockwell Collins ("Rockwell") include highly-skilled experts in the design of advanced avionics for commercial aircraft. So when a new Rockwell avionics project was on a tight schedule, it didn't make sense for those engineers to spend their valuable time performing certain necessary tasks that were not central to the mission, such as porting the chosen real-time operating system to a new board and writing RTOS-compatible device drivers for the Ethernet controller and flash file system.
Maintaining Staff Focus
To maintain the focus of his internal staff, an engineering manager at Rockwell engaged several members of the Barr Group engineering team to assist the company with these necessary programming tasks, on a time-and-materials basis. As device driver and RTOS specialists, Barr Group's software engineers were able to quickly complete this work so that the clients project could remain on schedule. The outside freed the internal Rockwell team to advance their avionics-related software in parallel with the platform bring up.
Barr Group was specifically tasked to port the Micrium µC/OS-II RTOS, µC/FS flash file system, and µC/TCP-IP protocol stack to Rockwell's proprietary avionics electronics. With the delegation of the low-level software drivers and board support package (BSP) to Barr Group, Rockwell's engineers were able to immediately begin working on their avionics application software. As the port of each software component was completed and tested, the core engineering team at Rockwell made it part of their next software build.
On-Schedule and On-Budget
Faced with a short deadline and lots of work to be done, the engineering manager at Rockwell smartly recognized the value of parallelizing parts of the firmware development to reduce the new product's time to market. By dividing the work to be done into avionics application software and tangential low-level hardware integration code, Rockwell was able to achieve its goal of moving the new product line forward on an aggressive schedule. In this way, Barr Group helped shave several calendar months off Rockwell's new product development.