Aerospace companies may not be advancing as fast as they think when it comes to harnessing the power of advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and additive manufacturing, according to a FINN Sessions expert  panel this week.

New research by Deloitte found many companies within the sector had assessed themselves as being advanced, in not only readiness but also implementation, but industry experts in Farnborough believe they are not taking a holistic approach.

The consensus is that the sector must focus on the problems their businesses need to solve, with  ‘outcome-based thinking’ being the key to devising a route through the complexity of digital transformation.

With this in mind the industry welcomed the announcement from Cranfield University this week about a new Digital Aviation Research Technology Centre.

Getting there

One area Aerospace 4.0 area that IS making progress is AI, and we caught up with John Schmidt, MD, Global Aerospace & Defense at Accenture  

And we are seeing examples of how digital technologies are already bringing tangible results to real problems. Rolls Royce’s IntelligentEngine vision and Hexagon Geospatial’s tools are using data to enable planes to keep flying even during events such as a volcanic ash cloud 

‘There are quite a few Unmanned Air Systems on show for the first time here at Farnborough. And Tekever has even taken to the air in the flying display

UAV manufacturers showcasing their latest technology this week include Aossci, China’s leading UAS producer has launched its new X-series including the X-Swift, a high-performance all-electric UAS, and the X-Chimera, a ground-breaking electric VTOL craft.

UAVs are increasingly being used for good, and there’s one that aims to save the polar ice caps.

Over in rotorcraft, Turkey’s TAI is looking forward to more international sales for its T129 attack helicopter, boosted by  the challenging testing Pakistan put the aircraft through, prior to its recent 30 aircraft order. Visitors to the show have been able to see how the  T129 reacts to those.

A whale of a time

The whole aviation world has been waiting to see the  brand-new Airbus  BelugaXL make its inaugural flight. It did it today from Toulouse and was streamed live on screens across the show ground

The ‘whale in the sky’ - which will transport aircraft structures between Airbus facilities is due to enter into service in 2019 and is designed to move oversized aircraft components.

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