Airbus looks to UAS and AI aircraft maintenance
Airbus has partnered with the Spanish Air Force to develop UAS and augmented reality-based maintenance inspection services for military aircraft, the company announced on 29 May.
The digital innovation technology will initially be trialled on Spanish Air Force A400M aircraft based at Zaragoza Air Base, with options to extend the technology to other aircraft, including the C-295 and the CN235.
The technology is based on UAS equipped with sensors and high-definition cameras to quickly scan the exterior of an aircraft undergoing a maintenance inspection. A secure connection enables data and information generated to be displayed on tablets and augmented reality glasses, allowing staff to quickly identify and apply maintenance procedures and corrective actions while ensuring all inspection and maintenance procedures are formally and fully recorded on the maintenance log.
According to the company, the technology will not only reduce the maintenance inspection time, but also support the early detection of defects and help guarantee quality and post-maintenance airworthiness.
The tests with the Spanish Air Force A400M will enable Airbus to use real user data, to consolidate the algorithms for safe autonomous flight of the UAS around an aircraft, avoiding the use of scaffolding and heavy mobile equipment that risks damaging the aircraft; and to process the terabytes of images and data as a deep learning library that allows for the development of a robust Artificial Intelligence-based defects detection system.
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