Avidyne has partnered with Daedalean, a Zurich-based company focused on artificial intelligence (AI) applications for the aerospace industry, to develop AI-based avionics to assist pilots and eventually lead to autonomous operations. Dan Schwinn, Avidyne president and CEO, told AIN that the company’s, and perhaps the industry’s, first AI-based avionics product—a see-and-avoid system—will gain FAA certification next year.
Schwinn said Avidyne chose to develop a non-flight-critical avionics system to ease certification with the FAA, which will certainly have to draft numerous special conditions to allow for certifying AI-based systems. The see-and-avoid system will employ 360-degree cameras that the AI avionics system will use to detect other aircraft.
“Right now, our focus is on autonomy building blocks and developing systems that assist—not replace—pilots. We want to make flying safer and are interested in manned aircraft and making it simpler to fly,” Schwinn said. “Over the next decade, we see AI as augmentation, not pilot replacement.”
He said Avidyne’s second AI avionics product could likely be a pilot landing assistance system, though Schwinn said the Melbourne, Florida-based company is exploring many AI applications for manned aircraft.
Meanwhile, Avidyne expects to increase its employment ranks by 20 percent this year as it ramps up R&D efforts. It also plans to launch more general aviation avionics products this year.