For the past few years, Airbus has been working on a project called Autonomous Taxi, Take-off and Landing (ATTOL),media reported. The International Air Transport Association expects air traffic to double by 2037. The association expects a shortage of manpower in the industry with the construction of some 37,000 new aircraft and the addition of 500,000 additional pilots.
In response, Airbus said a fully autonomous system would be a huge step forward, helping pilots to focus less on aircraft operations and more on strategic decision-making and mission management.
ATTOL systems rely heavily on computer vision and machine learning, while at the same time relying on a large number of cameras, radar sandand and lidar to create a sense of their situation. The system is mounted on a full-size Airbus A350-1000 and can accommodate more than 400 passengers. Before being sent for self-driving testing, the plane made 450 fully man-operated flights to collect video data and fine-tune control algorithms.
In January, ATTOL achieved its first fully visually automatic take-off at Toulouse-Branjak airport.
At the end of June, Airbus announced that the project had been completed and that the ATTOL system had completed six fully autonomous operations, each consisting of five take-offs and landings and a large number of taxiing around the airport. This is a successful outcome of the ATTOL program, and while it has not yet become a commercial product, Airbus says it will continue to study the use of autonomous technologies.