Although autopilots and pilots individually seldom make mistakes, on rare occasions errors are made due to inefficient collaboration between the two. Usually this results in nothing more than a moment of confusion. Occasionally (albeit rarely) it leads to an accident.
Professor Peter Johnson and Rachid Hourizi at the University of Bath have used funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to test their theory that these misunderstandings are due to the restricted interaction and low-level communication style of the autopilot rather than human error on the part of the pilot.
In the current generation of computerised cockpits, the autopilot tells the pilot what the immediate action being undertaken is (e.g. ‘the plane is flying at 10,000 feet’). The more explicit details (i.e. what action is going to be taken next and the objective of a particular manoeuvre) are calculated by the pilot.
This new system’s software interface gives the autopilot more of the calculation work to do. This makes the interaction between the autopilot and pilot more explicit. This in turn reduces the chance of mistakes being made. It also frees up more time for the pilot to monitor situations. The pilot continues to look after the high level decisions such as ensuring the plane is on course.
“The interface is based on the communication procedures used in a number of safety critical domains from fire fighting to military operations where the current situation, action to be taken and objectives are explicitly stated,” said Rachid Hourizi. “Our new system brings the interaction between the autopilot and pilot onto a more robust level.”
The researchers have presented their results to companies and organisations such as Airbus, Qinetiq and BAE Systems. As a result they have attracted a number of follow-on contracts from industry to help bring these ideas to fruition inside modern cockpits. This research could be incorporated into active autopilots within a decade.
Natasha Richardson | alfa
Cloud technology: Dynamic certificates make cloud service providers more secure
15.01.2018 | Technische Universität München
New discovery could improve brain-like memory and computing
10.01.2018 | University of Minnesota
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy