I'm not an avionics person, really. But I do know that the current crop of FMCs and autopilots for heavy jet transports are very complex. Not just technically complex, but operationally complex. So complex, in fact, that pilots are often left wondering, "Why is the airplane doing that?" I hate that.
Our avionics should be very easy to understand. Push the button on the glare shield and get best climb rate (or best climb angle). None of this C* climb function stuff. Oh, and the pilot should be able to turn it off with one switch and not have the airplane crash. The avionics are there to help the pilots, not to do their jobs for them. People make lousy systems monitors.
Moreover, I think this may well be a lovely opportunity to try open source avionics on an open standard network. I'm really in love with the idea of a simple (I know, I know) Intel box running Linux as an OS and an open source application (FM or AP) on top.
The best part? We're not alone. Thomas Netter pointed me towards these sites:
Who would like to get started on this one?