Airbus brings autonomous take-off and landing project to a close

Published: 30 June 2020 - 5 a.m.

Airbus has concluded its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project after a two-year flight test programme.

The project ultimately saw Airbus achieve the autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology.

In total, over 500 test flights were conducted. Approximately 450 of those flights were dedicated to gathering raw video data to support and fine tune algorithms, while a series of six test flights, each one including five take-offs and landings per run, were used to test autonomous flight capabilities.

The ATTOL project was desgined to explore how autonomous technologies, including the use of machine learning algorithms and automated tools for data labelling, processing and model generation, could help pilots focus less on aircraft operations and more on strategic decision-making and mission management.

Airbus said it will now analyse the potential of these technologies for enhancing future aircraft operations, all the while improving aircraft safety.

Airbus will continue research into the application of autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity, the company said.

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