Airbus has successfully concluded its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project following an extensive two-year flight test programme.
Through the completion of the project Airbus has achieved a world-first – autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology.
More than 500 test flights were conducted with approximately 450 flights 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.
Autonomous technologies enable pilots to focus on strategic decision making
The ATTOL project was initiated by Airbus 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 is now able to analyse the potential of these technologies for enhancing future aircraft operations, while improving aircraft safety and ensuring today’s unprecedented levels are maintained.
Airbus will continue research into the application of autonomous technologies alongside other innovations such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity. Airbus is also opening up possibilities for creating new business models which will transform how aircraft are developed, manufactured, flown, powered and serviced.
The rapid development and demonstration of ATTOL’s capabilities was made possible due to a cross-divisional, cross-functional, global team comprising of Airbus engineering and technology teams, Airbus Defence and Space, Acubed (Project Wayfinder), Airbus China and ONERA under the leadership of Airbus UpNext.
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