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Airbus UpNext Tests New Pilot Assistance Technologies With Optimate Electric Demonstrator Truck

Airbus UpNext has debuted innovative new ‘Optimate’ electric truck demonstrator to test new pilot assist technologies and automatic aircraft taxiing.  The three-year project will combine advanced automation, computer vision, data fusion and machine learning.

Airbus UpNext Debuts 'Optimate' Demonstrator Electric Truck - Courtesy Airbus

On Tuesday (May 21, 2024), Airbus UpNext announced the launch of their innovative new Optimate electric truck demonstrator to test new technologies in support of automatic taxiing and enhanced onboard pilot support. The three-year Optimate research project will combine cutting-edge technologies such as advanced automation, computer vision, data fusion, and machine learning to improve aircraft navigations systems, the human-machine interface, and flight safety.    

In Tuesday’s announcement, Airbus UpNext’s CEO, Michael Augello, said,

“We are delighted to unveil another innovative demonstrator that reflects our unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of aviation.  Our ambition is to use the best technologies to make our aircraft even more aware of their operating conditions, analysing it in as much detail as possible to become smart and reliable assistants to pilots, providing them with the optimal assistance.  We are confident that this project will contribute to safer and more efficient air travel.”

One of the key objectives of Airbus’ Optimate electric truck testbed is to test automatic taxiing based on more accurate position calculation, and to assess the potential of quantum sensing to improve position availability and the robustness of navigation systems.  Additionally, the project will investigate the capabilities of collaborative map and virtual flight assistance to support pilots’ strategic decisions and interactions with ATC and airline operations centers.  In an effort to reduce CO2 emissions, the new architecture and algorithms will be validated on a testbed electric truck, replicating key functions of a real aircraft cockpit, that can roll down airport runways like an airliner.  In short, it will recreate an A350 cockpit on wheels, which features the latest generation of LIDAR and external cameras, combined with inertia and GPS technologies, satcom and 5G.

Airbus UpNext to Text New Technologies in Support of Automatic Taxiing and Enhanced Onboard Pilot Support With New 'Optimate' Demonstrator Electric Truck - Courtesy Airbus

The project’s final phase will be to use the ‘virtual assistant’ during a completely automated gate-to-gate mission on an Airbus A350 test aircraft.  Airbus’ Optimate demonstrator will be on display at Vivatech in Paris from May 22nd through  May 25th.  The vehicle will be located next to the main entrance to Hall 1, and will be available for media visits from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm CEST daily.

Source: Airbus


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