ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

Start typing your update here...Technology across every sector is evolving and now it appears the aerospace industry has taken another step forward, with the first test of a robotic co-pilot in a 737 simulator.

Aurora Flight Sciences has developed the robot co-pilot that can physically take control of a plane with its arm, has in-cockpit machine vision and is able to interact with members of the crew. During the simulator test, the robot successfully landed the 737, although it is still some way off being able to take control of an actual airliner.

The new automated system has been developed as part of a project with the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the US, as part of its Aircrew Labour In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) programme.

According to DARPA, the ultimate aim for ALIAS is “a tailorable, drop-in, removable kit that would promote the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft, enabling operation with reduced onboard crew”.

As well as being able to control the aircraft, ALIAS is equipped with speech recognition and speech synthesis capabilities, which means it can communicate directly with the pilot or other crew members.

The new technology has already been tested on aircraft in flight, with the most recent test on a DA42 aircraft, which is much smaller than a 737.

Of course, automated flight is nothing new, with drones now a common feature of our skies. However, one aviation expert has warned that the UK will need to stay closely aligned with the European Aerospace Safety Agency after leaving the EU if it wants to continue to develop drone technology and have the freedom to fly it anywhere in Europe easily.

Speaking to The Register, committee chairman at the Royal Aeronautical Society UAV Tony Handley said that the UK no longer has enough expertise in this area to run a standalone aviation regulatory body.

If you need technical expertise for an aerospace project, contact us at Electron Beam Services today to find out how we could be of assistance.