THE Embraer carried out the first test of an autonomous aircraft in Brazil: it is a Legacy 500 jet that can carry out the taxiing operation alone, traversing an airport runway without human interference. The project has the participation of Ufes (Federal University of Espírito Santo), which has been developing research on autonomous cars for ten years.
Initially, Embraer used the autonomous land navigation system inside a simulator. Then, in the last week of August, an adapted Legacy 500 took a previously established route at the Aerodrome of Gavião Peixoto, in the interior of São Paulo. The test was released on Tuesday (8).
The plane’s laser sensors, GPS and cameras are used by the autonomous system to guide you through the runway without the help of a human. There was a pilot in the cabin to intercede in case something went wrong, but the test was successful.
“The integrated artificial intelligence system monitored the aircraft’s external and internal conditions, acting independently on the acceleration, steering and braking commands, and accurately executed the movement along the indicated path,” explains Embraer in a statement.
Aviation companies like Boeing have been exploring autonomous taxiing for some years. This can be a way to increase the efficiency of aircraft inside an airport, saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions; airplanes are estimated to account for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Ufes develops IARA for autonomous cars
Embraer’s system uses parts of the IARA (Intelligent Autonomous Robotic Automobile) platform, designed for autonomous cars and developed by the Ufes High Performance Computing Laboratory (LCAD).
IARA has been in development since 2009. In 2017, an autonomous Ufes car with this platform made a 74 km trip between Vitória and Guarapari; there was a driver behind the wheel, who took over on a few occasions, as when he came across a traffic light in flashing yellow mode.
The LCAD team is made up of professors and students from Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Informatics courses. The project is funded by CNPq, Capes, Finep and Fapes (Espírito Santo Research Support Foundation).
With information: Ufes.