Scientific and technological cooperation between Embraer and the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Ufes) in the areas of autonomous robotics and artificial intelligence resulted in the first test of an autonomous aircraft in Brazil. The trial, in Gavião Peixoto, in São Paulo state, allowed a prototype aircraft to taxi on its own, moving along a previously established path without human interference. A pilot in the cockpit followed the operation.
For the past six months, researchers from Embraer and Ufes have worked together on mathematical and computational models of automation, software development, hardware, laser sensor kit, GPS, and cameras, as well as systems integration into the aircraft. The autonomous land navigation system was tested in a simulator during preliminary assessments prior to actual operation.
The integrated artificial intelligence system monitored the aircraft’s external and internal conditions, acting independently on the acceleration, steering, and braking commands, and accurately performed the movement along the indicated path. The test aircraft integrated features of the Intelligent Autonomous Robotic Automobile (IARA) system, result of autonomous car research that began in 2009 at the Ufes High Performance Computing Laboratory (LCAD).
“Our strategy for technology development in autonomous systems seeks to position the country at the forefront of artificial intelligence processes in a variety of applications”, said Daniel Moczydlower, Embraer's executive vice president of engineering and technology.
“This success demonstrates the excellence of what we have been developing at Ufes in the last 10 years in the areas of autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence. It puts us once again at the scientific forefront in these areas worldwide. Doing all this in partnership with Embraer fills us with pride and satisfaction”, said Professor Alberto Ferreira de Souza, project coordinator.
The partnership with Ufes, in the context of pre-competitive research and development, seeks to accelerate the knowledge of autonomous systems technologies through the implementation of more agile experimentation processes.
Embraer’s open innovation model and collaboration with dozens of universities and research centers in Brazil aims to increase in the country's competitiveness and the construction of a sustainable future.