System software subsystems in an unmanned aircraft system share hardware resources due to space, weight, and power constraints. Such subsystems have different criticality, requirements, and failure rates, and can cause undesired interference when sharing the same hardware. A component with high failure rate can reduce the reliability of the system unless a fault containment mechanism is adopted.
This work proposes an asymmetric multiprocessor architecture to establish isolation at the hardware level for distributed implementation of safety-critical subsystems along with user defined payload subsystems on the same hardware with minimally reduced reliability of the system. To achieve that, subsystems are strategically segregated in separate processors, connected to an on-chip protective interconnect for inter-processor communications. A custom watchdog and reset mechanism are implemented to reset a specific processor without affecting the entire system if required. The architecture is demonstrated on a FPGA chip. In addition, an example of an optimised distribution is provided for a specific flight control system with five subsystems.