Airbus Fully Automatic Test Flight ATTOL Completed Successfully
Airbus successfully completed the Autonomous Taxi, Takeoff and Landing (ATTOL-Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off & Landing) project after a two-year comprehensive test flight program.
While completing this project, Airbus carried out autonomous taxi, takeoff and landing of a commercial aircraft with fully automated vision based flight tests using the built-in image recognition technology, a world first in aviation.
More than 500 test flights were carried out in total. Approximately 450 of these flights are allocated for collecting raw video data and developing algorithms. Six series of test flights, each including five take-offs and landings, were used to test independent flight capabilities.
Developed by Airbus, the ATTOL project was launched to enable pilots to discover how autonomous technologies work, including the use of machine learning algorithms and automated tools for data labeling, processing and modeling, and to help them focus more on strategic decision making and task management instead of aircraft operations.
Analyzing its capacity to improve future aircraft operations and improve flight safety with these advanced technologies, Airbus reportedly continues its research on the implementation of autonomous technologies, along with other innovations such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity.
IATA Air Traffic Expectation
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air traffic is expected to double by 2037. This will necessitate approximately +37,000 new passenger and freight aircraft—and more than half a million new pilots to fly them. Given this expected increase in air travel, other solutions will be required to support pilots in aircraft operations.
“The key challenge for self-piloting capabilities is how the system reacts to unforeseen events. That’s the big jump from automated to autonomous” says Arne Stoschek, Wayfinder Project Executive, Acubed.
Airbus is a European-based multinational aviation company. As of 2019, Airbus is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world and it takes the most aircraft orders. The company has three main divisions: commercial aircraft, defense & space, and helicopters. The company manufactures and sells Airbus A320. The world’s first commercial digital fly-by-wire aircraft, and A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. The company’s civil aviation division is headquartered in Toulouse, France. Most of the production facilities are located in European Union (France, Germany, Spain), but they also have facilities in China, UK and USA.