Avionics Digital Edition

A New Decade for Avionics

Welcome to the first issue of Avionics International for the 2020s, where we start the new decade off focusing on embedded systems, the most technical segment of the aviation electronics industry that will be the enabler of all the future airliner, drone, helicopter and air taxi ambitions making headlines lately.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning goals have become ubiquitous in aviation engineering circles these days, but during my recent trip to Paris for the Thales InnovDays 2019 event, I realized that those two concepts are no longer just buzz words, but are actually going to become a reality in commercial air transportation this decade.

During the event, Thales unveiled its connected flight management system concept and explained to me how they’re developing a virtual assistant for pilots as part of their FlytX cockpit concept. Both FlytX and their new connected flight management system are expected to be ready for certification by 2024.

In this issue of Avionics, we’ll look at every aspect of embedded systems advancement that has robust activity around investment, research and development and demand from systems integrators. As you’ll learn from the cover story, the segment that will see the most widespread adoption of artificial intelligence through embedded enablement in the near future will be military unmanned aircraft systems.

An interesting obstacle to the adoption of AI in UAS, presented by author Frank Wolfe, is the need to adapt non-deterministic learning algorithms for real world operations where a set of pre-defined actions will not always work as intended.

Anne Wainscott also provides analysis of trends within security challenges being experienced by embedded systems suppliers to the avionics market. Elsewhere, contributors James Careless and John Koon discuss the latest avionics embedded approaches to thermal management and the use of fiber optics to take the speed at which data moves through aircraft networks to new levels.

What industry events are you attending this year? What excites you in terms of possibilities that could become a reality in this new decade? What topics would you like to see more coverage on in the future? I look forward to hearing reader feedback on these questions and more.