Aurora Flight Sciences’ ALIAS program has demonstrated its automated flight capabilities with various successful flight scenarios in a Boeing 737 simulator.
A DARPA undertaking, the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) ALIAS envisions a tailorable, drop-in, removable kit that would promote the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft, enabling operation with reduced onboard crew.
Aurora’s latest feat builds on its successful installation and testing of ALIAS components on a Diamond DA42, Cessna 208 Caravan, UH-1 Iroquois, and DHC-2 Beaver aircraft.
The system is designed to function as a second pilot in a two-crew aircraft, enabling reduced crew operations while ensuring that aircraft performance and mission success are maintained or improved.
Demonstrated on a Boeing 737-800NG simulator at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ALIAS showcased its ability to utilize the existing 737 auto-landing system to autonomously land the aircraft safely in the event of pilot incapacitation.
Aurora has also demonstrated ALIAS numerous times on aircraft in flight, most recently on the DA42. In the demonstration, ALIAS actualized DA42 cockpit procedures in real time and, overseen by an onboard safety pilot, conducted a fully automated landing at a simulated site at 3,000 ft. in altitude.
Aurora’s ALIAS solution includes the use of in-cockpit machine vision, robotic components to actuate the flight controls, an advanced tablet-based user interface, speech recognition and synthesis, and a knowledge acquisition process that facilitates transition of the automation system to another aircraft within a 30-day period.
Image, video and excerpts: Aurora Flight Sciences