A new and robust partitioned operating system

General Information

The XKY hypervisor

XKY is an ARINC 653-compliant time-and-space partitioned real-time operating system (RTOS). It is developed in compliance with the DO-178C/ED-12C standards to offer a IMA system platform for all aircraft embedded levels up to DAL-A.

From its inception, the XKY operating system was designed and created with a hypervisor architecture in mind and the idea of minimizing the code base, all while complying with the requirements for robust partitioning.

It also combines modularity and flexibility with a minimal impact on the system, making it a cost-effective solution for the aviation market.

XKY runs on 32 ARM Cortex A8/ARMv7-A and 32- and 64-bit PowerPC with multi-core support. Thanks to its modular design, it can also be adapted to other types of CPU by using a tailored BSP.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

Use cases: see the product technical documentation, which provides detailed information on XKY and a case study carried out with Embraer.



XKY is a real-time operating system created from the ground up that follows the paradigm used most today in integrated modular avionics (IMA): robust partitioning. Its design emulates the hypervisor architecture, enabling several applications, and even operating systems, to coexist safely on the same hardware. The core of XKY’s partitioning management and a tailored BSP runs directly on the hardware to control and manage guest applications or operating systems.

XKY allows several operating systems to run in several partitions, guaranteeing uninterrupted access to the resources configured for these systems in the design phase. XKY is optimized to support systems in real time, and the common guest is a RTOS.

XKY support multi-core processing. Partitions can be schedule in any number of processing cores, indicating the CPU in which the current partition is allocated to run.

XKY provides fast communication between applications on each partition through sampling ports, queue ports and shared memory. 

XKY supports external communication via PCIe and Ethernet. These interfaces work directly, without additional actions. Other IO drivers can also be integrated at the partition level.

XKY offers compatibility with the ARINC 653 APEX standard, part 1 (annexes 3 and 4) and selected services from part 2.

Currently, XKY has out-of-the-box BSP for 32 ARM Cortex A8/ARMv7-A and 32- and 64-bit PowerPC with multi-core support.

XKY can be certified as platform in aircrafts to comply up to DO-178C/ED-12C DAL-A. 

We have been working on exhaustively documenting XKY to comply with DO-178C/ED-12C up to level DAL-A. This means that XKY can be used as platform to support the most critical certified aircraft systems in Civil or even Military aviation. Basic documentation is already available.

For questions related to certifiability, please contact us at [email protected].

The acronym DIMA stands for distributed integrated modular avionics. Distributed integrated modular avionics (DIMA), sometimes known as 2nd generation IMA, is an emerging architectural pattern for avionics.
Since 2014, GMV has been working with Embraer on a series of projects aimed at implementing a DIMA platform prototype. This platform provides:

  • Flexible use of IT and IO resources
  • Interoperability at the system level
  • Reuse of application components
  • Reconfiguration (plug & play)

If you are interested, you can download the technical documentation on this use case.

GMV presents our Xky in a Box starter kit.

This is a low-cost solution for assessing, creating demos, building prototypes, training, and conducting other evaluation activities..

The introductory kit contains XKY tailored with a BSP (board support package) for the BeagleBone Black, an affordable low cost board with a project community-maintained ARM Cortex A8/ARMv7-A processor.

The kit is a compressed file delivered in a pen drive that contains:

  • The XKY (Kernel and BSP) pre-compiled for the Beaglebone Black board;
  • IO partition application that provides UDP communication via Ethernet;
  • Development tools (Python-based configuration tools and the chain of GNU-based compilation tools);
  • Sample applications.

The introductory kit is a perfect solution for research projects and educational purposes, and it is free to universities and other educational institutions.  


Simulated Integrated Modular Avionics (SIMA) is a runtime environment for Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) systems based on the ARINC 653 specification. It provides a robust partition and complete APEX tool defined by the ARINC 653 specification for operating systems that do not deliver on their own. these features.

SIMA is a cost-effective alternative for debugging, testing, simulating and training with IMA systems, ensuring that the application will behave the same as on the target platform thanks to strict and demonstrated compliance with the ARINC 653 specification.

The ARINC 653 standard specifies a programming interface for a real-time operating system (RTOS) and also establishes a concrete method for partitioning resources by time and memory. Currently, this standard is generally recognized as a fundamental basis for the development of safety-critical systems in the aeronautical industry.

Source URL: https://www.gmv.com/products/aeronautics/xky