Airbus announced the completion of a project to develop an ATTOL visual autopilot system designed to automatically control aircraft during taxiing, takeoff, and landing. The company announced that the project results will assess the applicability of the technology in real conditions.
Some modern developments in the field of aviation are aimed at reducing the pressure on pilots. Such technologies should automate part of the actions performed by pilots, reducing the load on the crew. Some of these developments include the possibility of reducing the number of aircraft pilots from two to one.
The development of the ATTOL project was carried out over the past year. The developers did not disclose details about the composition of the system. It is only known that to control the aircraft during taxiing, take-off, and landing, video images from external cameras are used.
Video data is processed using neural network algorithms. For their training, more than 450 records of various flights were used. On them, the neural networks were trained to recognize airfields, light indicators, markings. In total, more than 500 test flights of the airliner A350-1000 with a visual autopilot system were performed as part of the ATTOL project.
The final test series took place in April 2020 at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport in southern France. During these tests, the airliner made six flights: four of them with fully automatic take-off and five with a fully automatic landing. During one flight, fully automatic taxiing along the airfield was also performed.