The European aircraft concern Airbus has carried out a new phase of testing of the visual system for automatic taxiing, takeoff and landing. As written by Aviation Week, during testing, the Airbus A350, equipped with this system have made six flights, including one in which the liner is fully automatically performed taxiing on the airfield, takeoff and landing. In all cases, the automation used to control the aircraft, only the data from the external cameras.
Major aircraft manufacturers today are developing a growing number of automation systems of flight that would allow aircraft not only to fly the route on autopilot, but also perform a fully automatic landing and taxiing on the airfield. Of these operations, although not used, is technically possible, but for them it is necessary that the airfield was equipped with auxiliary equipment. For example, for the automatic landing of the required route and glide-path system. Partially automated boarding at the airports with such a system the aircraft is already running.
It is considered that greater automation of passenger aircraft will make flights safer. It is also expected that automation will solve the problem of the distribution of trains in the airspace of airfields and reduce intervals between takeoffs and landings of aircraft. The vision system will allow to automate the processes of taking off and landing at aerodromes that do not have route and glide-path and other systems for instrument operations.
The developers suggest that the vision system, images of which are processed by the algorithms may be accurate enough to provide the takeoff and landing of the aircraft only for images from cameras and data from satellite global positioning systems.
Development of automatic visual system of the Airbus is carried out in the framework of the project ATTOL (Autonomous Taxi, Takeoff and Landing automatic taxiing, takeoff and landing). Details about the composition of the system the developers did not disclose. For training of neural network algorithms that process video stream from the cameras were used more than 450 recordings of various flights. Their neural network was trained to recognize airfields, light indication, marking.
Test system fully automatic landing was conducted in April 2020, but they Airbus announced just now. The tests use the A350-1000, which made six test flights: four of them with fully automatic take-off and five with fully automatic landing. During the inspections the aircraft were test pilots who were supposed to take control in case of an emergency situation. The tests were carried out at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport in the South of France.
Testing of an automatic visual system for the A350-1000 are held by Airbus from January 2020. Then, this liner performed a series of fully automatic take-offs.
In mid-2019, the engineers of the technical University of Munich tested the automatic landing system based on GPS, camera and an inertial navigation system. During the tests, the aircraft with the installed vision system performed an automatic landing.