Cockpit Avionics 2012: Future flight decks promise more with less
Avionics technology is accelerating, and while manufacturers have made tremendous advances during the past decade, the march of microprocessor speed, electronic storage growth and high-speed communications networks means that engineers can increasingly do much more with less equipment, bringing stunning new capabilities to the cockpits of tomorrow. Hardware–microprocessors, fast flash-based storage and speedy bus architecture–is no longer a bottleneck for avionics development, and future features likely will be mostly software-based. This means that once a cockpit infrastructure is in place, it will remain the same for nearly the life of the aircraft, while upgrades and added features will come in the form of software updates.
The ultimate result may be something like what French avionics manufacturer Thales is developing with an industry/university consortium called Odicis–a futuristic single-display cockpit with a wraparound instrument panel that blurs the line between the displays and the structure of the cockpit.
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