Industry Airbus tests new technologies on A350-1000

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is testing new technologies on one of its Airbus A350-1000 testbed aircraft.

  • 0

The manufacturer´s wholly owned subsidiary Airbus UpNext has started a new test campaign with the A350-1000 and it will see new on ground and in-flight pilot assistance technologies being tested through the DragonFly project.

DragonFly includes technologies like automated emergency diversion in cruise or automatic landing and taxi assistance. For this, Airbus has installed new cameras and sensors at the aircraft´s fuselage to gather more data that will lead to more precise aircraft decisions. The tests are being conducted in prospect to future autonomous flight systems and to enable more safer and more efficient operations.

The automated emergency decent (AED) function is already available on current A350 aircraft and is triggered when the cabin pressure falls below a predetermined limit. The new function being tested now is automating this function from cruising altitude. When activated, the aircraft immediately begins an emergency decent and turns away from its current heading to prevent conflicts with other aircraft in the airspace. Furthermore, the aircraft automatically sets squawk 7700 to inform ATC. With information from the NOTAMS and systems like the TCAS, the aircraft automatically maneuvers to a safe airspace and height that allows pilots to take control over the aircraft again.

Over the prospect of possible one-man operations in the cockpit or even autonomous flight, these tests allow for better feasibility analysis. With all the data collected, it could even be possible to conduct all-automated landings in the future, as the aircraft collects its own data for precision approaches like the ILS and is not dependent on other systems providing necessary data.

Isabelle Lacaze, Head of DragonFly demonstrator, Airbus UpNext, commented: “These tests are one of several steps in the methodical research of technologies to further enhance operations and improve safety […] Inspired by biomimicry, the systems being tested have been designed to identify features in the landscape that enable 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 landmarks.”

Airbus also stated that it wants to explore features for taxi assistance. These tests are conducted in real-life at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport and provide the crew with audio alerts for obstacles, speed control and guidance to runways and gates using a dedicated airport map. This could improve airport operations and more efficient taxiing, especially at larger airports.

In order to being able to implement these technologies safely, Airbus UpNext is launching a project to generate computer vision-based algorithms for advanced landing and taxi assistance. The tests were made possible with Airbus subsidiaries and other partners in the industry.

Further information on DragonFly can be found here:

Source ©

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more