New pilot assistance technologies take to the road with Airbus’ Optimate demonstrator

Airbus UpNext Optimate demonstrator vehicle

Airbus UpNext, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus, has started testing new technologies to support automatic taxiing and enhance pilot assistance onboard an electric truck.

The three-year research project, called Optimate, will combine a wide range of cutting-edge technologies including advanced automation, computer vision, data fusion and machine learning to improve aircraft navigation systems, the human-machine interface and overall flight safety.

Michael Augello, CEO Airbus UpNext said: “We are delighted to unveil another innovative demonstrator that reflects our unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of aviation.

“Our ambition is to use the best technologies to make our aircraft even more aware of their operating conditions, analysing it in as much detail as possible to become smart and reliable assistants to pilots, providing them with the optimal assistance.

“We are confident that this project will contribute to safer and more efficient air travel.”

A key objective for Optimate is to develop and test automatic taxiing based on more accurate and reliable position calculation, and to assess the potential of quantum sensing to improve position availability and navigation system robustness.

Another objective is to investigate the capabilities of a collaborative map and virtual flight assistant to support pilots’ strategic decisions and interactions with air traffic control and airline operations centres.