Airbus is conducting advanced autonomous helicopter tests on Flightlab. Airbus is conducting tests on autonomous features in helicopter Flightlab with the project code named Vertex. These technologies aim to simplify mission preparation and management, reduce helicopter pilot workload and further increase safety.
Autonomous technologies designed for Flightlab integration: Vision-based sensors and algorithms for situational awareness and obstacle detection, fly-by-wire technology for advanced autopilot, touchscreen for flight tracking and control, and a human-machine interface device in the form of a head-mounted display.
The combination of these technologies will create a system that can manage navigation and routeing, automatic take-off and landing, and also follow a predetermined flight route. The increasing integration of these new technologies into Filghlab began before the final presentations and demonstrations in 2023. Airbus' Urban Air Mobility will also take advantage of this technology to make an important step towards autonomous flight.
Grazia Vitadini, Chief Technology Engineer at Airbus, said: “We are excited about the results of the Vertex project now. "By using our flying lab, our agnostic platform, to mature these technologies, we can then conduct more agile and efficient tests that support the development of future autonomous systems that can be integrated into Airbus' existing helicopter series and (e) VTOL platforms."
Airbus' mission is not to walk autonomously as a goal in its own right, but to explore autonomous technologies alongside other technologies. In doing so, Airbus analyzes the potential to improve future operations and takes steps to improve helicopter safety.