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Five Aviation Technologies Making Flight Safer than Ever

Five Aviation Technologies Making Flight Safer than Ever

While pilot training and better procedures have led to improved safety, some of the largest and most dramatic safety improvements in flight are due to new technologies. Digital transformations are remaking many of the world’s largest corporations. Organizations are embracing big data, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technologies to solve their challenges. Similar changes are coming in the field of aviation safety. Here are five new technologies that will improve the safety of flight.

Inertial Measurement Units: Autonomous flight is coming, and with Urban Air Mobility (UAM), some of these autonomous vehicles will be operating in dense urban environments. If an autonomous vehicle loses track of its location, it has the potential to become a danger to people and property, so safe autonomous flight will rely on aircraft knowing their position precisely. This makes Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), which can provide location information when GPS isn’t available, particularly important.

Better and More Widespread Radar: While radar has been around for much of flight’s history, there is enormous innovation going on in weather radar. Honeywell’s IntuVue 3-D Weather Radar, for instance, can detect turbulence out to 60 nautical miles and offers hail and lightning prediction. The advanced radar technology has benefits beyond just the major airliners, expect to see it in more business aviation and general aviation platforms in the future.

Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence (AI) is already in use as one of the analytical methods creating predictive insights for Connected Aircraft solutions. It’s just a matter of time before it’s in the cockpit. AI will likely first be used as a tool to aid pilots in areas like situational awareness or precision control and will probably then grow into a co-pilot role. While it’s unlikely that we’ll see AI push pilots out of the cockpit anytime soon, for completely autonomous vehicles, like drones, it’s not far off.

Augmented Reality: The idea of adding to a pilot’s situational awareness, usually by adjusting what that pilot sees, is the world of augmented reality. The heads-up displays relied on by military pilots are a first step to augmented reality. In the near future, expect to see more advanced forms of these technologies making their way into helmets and cockpits on aircraft of all sorts.

The Connected Aircraft: The networking of disparate products and services into a Connected Aircraft will be the technology that will have the biggest effect on safety. Connected Aircraft solutions will provide better information to pilots and operators, will power more efficient maintenance and will collect enormous amounts of data that operators can use to further refine safety. By bringing together many of the technologies in use today and incorporating data, the Connected Aircraft delivers a safer world of flight.

There is no doubt that new technologies have the potential to make flight safer. Even as airspaces become more crowded and UAM brings more kinds of aircraft into already dense environments, the industry can continue improving safety. At Honeywell, our long experience in aviation and our knowledge of both hardware and software means we’re already putting the technologies of the future to work on making flight safer for all.

Kathryn Kearney
Content Marketing Specialist
Katie Kearney is the global content marketing specialist for Honeywell Aerospace.


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