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Unsettled Topics in the General Aviation Autonomy Landscape

  • Research Report
  • EPR2022004
Published February 24, 2022 by SAE International in United States
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  • English
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The extent of automation and autonomy used in general aviation (GA) has been accelerating dramatically. This has huge potential benefits for safety given that 75% of accidents in personal and on-demand GA are due to pilot error. However, an approach to certifying autonomous systems that relies on reversionary modes limits their potential to improve safety. Placing a human pilot in a situation where they are suddenly tasked with flying an airplane in a failed situation, often without sufficient situational awareness, is overly demanding. This, coupled with advancing technology that may not align with a deterministic certification paradigm, creates an opportunity for new approaches to certifying autonomous and highly automated aircraft systems.
Unsettled Topics in the General Aviation Autonomy Landscape discusses how these new approaches must account for the multifaceted aviation approach to risk management which has interlocking requirements for airworthiness and operations (including training and airspace integration). If implemented properly, autonomy can take GA safety to the next level while simultaneously increasing the number and variety of aircraft and transportation options they provide.