Enabling fully-autonomous flight of passenger aircraft
Aviation has come a long way. Modern airliners and business jets are now highly automated, with autoland-capable autopilots, GPS-based navigation, and redundant fly-by-wire control systems. These systems still rely on pilots to stay clear of other aircraft and to take over in case of problems. Our focus is on the remaining challenges dealing with sensing and reasoning. These are two key functions that mostly remain in the hands of the pilot.
Through the integration of a suite of sensors, we allow aircraft to perceive their surroundings. We algorithmically fuse inputs from these sensors to reliably detect ground-based and airborne hazards, and precisely determine the vehicle’s position. This technology serves as a building block for autonomous aircraft. The technology can also be used to increase situational awareness of pilots in flight or to increase the operational envelope of current-day piloted aircraft.
Sensing requirements definition
Sensor testing, selection, and integration
Situational awareness and obstacle classification
Path-planning and dynamic rerouting
Health and contingency management
Seamless airspace integration
Air traffic control integration
Terrain, weather and airspace data API
An autonomous aircraft needs to act upon the information it has from its surroundings. The AFMS fills that role. It integrates with air traffic control, generates flight paths to seamlessly navigate the airspace, monitors system health, and addresses all contingencies to ensure passenger safety.
Fully-autonomous aircraft execute all flight maneuvers, and handle failure modes. A fly-by-wire system consists of flight control computers, redundant actuators, and digital input mechanisms for vehicle controls. The control system closes the loop on position and attitude by sending commands to the flight control actuators. The flight management system sends commands to the control system to guide the vehicle to its intended destination.
Redundant fail-operational architecture
Comprehensive actuation authority