Emergency Autoland puts Garmin on the bleeding edge of autonomous flying
I landed an airplane with a single push of a button
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November 11, 2019 - by Jon Ostrower for theaircurrent.com
Olathe, Kan. — I landed an airplane with a single push of a button.
It's not really fair to claim ownership for this safe touch down at New Century AirCenter, where Garmin is testing a genuine aviation breakthrough.
My contribution to this flight was a three-second press of a guarded switched on the glareshield of a Piper M600 labeled 'Emergency Autoland' (EA).
An airplane that flies itself sounds like the worst of the clichés around aviation and automated flying. But that single button push hands control over to the airplane.
Garmin is understandably reluctant to acknowledge that they've established a system that has, by design, removed pilots from flying and making decisions. The contrast between Garmin — which spends about $200 million on research and development each year — and the spate of Silicon Valley start-ups advancing autonomous air vehicles is stark.
EA isn't conceptual. And it's not some far-off technology boosted by glossy marketing. What Garmin has developed and delivered to Piper and Cirrus for production is the bleeding-edge of flying autonomy and one that is on the verge of gaining regulatory approvals.
The FAA isn't quite ready to certify fully-autonomous passenger-carrying vehicles yet or digital co-pilots and Garmin had to convince the U.S. aviation regulator that the context for EA's operation was inherently different than those for normal operations.
"The catastrophic event's already happened. So everything we do from there is us just trying our best help," said Bailey Scheel, EA's project manager and a senior aviation systems engineer.
But Garmin is making its final push toward EA's certification in the middle of...
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