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Airbus tests new technologies to improve assistance to pilots

Airbus UpNext, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus, has begun testing new ground and in-flight pilot assistance technologies on an A350-1000 test aircraft. Known as DragonFly, the technologies demonstrated include automatic emergency cruise diversion, automatic landing, and taxi assistance, and are intended to assess the feasibility and relevance of continuing to explore autonomous flight systems in support of safer and more efficient operations. “These trials are one of several steps in the methodical search for technologies to further improve operations and safety”, said Isabelle Lacaze, Head of DragonFly demonstrator, Airbus UpNext. “Inspired by biomimicry, the systems being tested are designed to identify features in the landscape that allow an aircraft to ‘see’ and safely maneuver autonomously within its surroundings, in the same way that dragonflies are known to have the ability to recognize reference points.” During the flight test campaign, the technologies were able to assist pilots by managing a simulated event of incapacitated crew members and during landing and taxiing operations. Taking into account external factors such as flight zones, terrain, and weather conditions, the aircraft was able to generate a new flight path plan and communicate with both Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the Air Force Operations Control Center. Airbus UpNext also explored features for taxi assistance, which were tested in real time at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. The technology provides the crew with audio alerts in reaction to obstacles, assisted cruise control, and guidance to the runway using a dedicated airport map. In addition to these capabilities, Airbus UpNext is launching a project to prepare the next generation of computer vision-based algorithms to advance landing and taxi assistance. These tests have been made possible through cooperation with Airbus subsidiaries and external partners, including Cobham, Collins Aerospace, Honeywell, Onera, and Thales. DragonFly was partially funded by the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) as part of the French Stimulus plan, which is part of the European Plan, the EU’s Next Generation Plan and the France 2030 plan. – https://www.aeroflap.com.br/airbus-testa-novas-tecnologias-para-melhorar-a-assistencia-aos-pilotos/