The Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) has shared its latest progress on its Autonomy of Future Air Mobility (AMAF) project with Thales, Presagis (now TXT) and Université Laval. The purpose of this project is to structure the increasing autonomy of vehicles involved in advanced air mobility.

AMAF project partners Thales and TXT are combining their expertise in digital technologies, AI, critical systems and simulation to design the components needed for the autonomous aerospace of the future.

The aim of the Autonomy of Future Air Mobility (AMAF) project is to propose a structured framework for the autonomy of new regional and urban air mobility solutions in Quebec through two complementary approaches. The project partners intend to establish the province's role as a hub for digital aviation systems.

TXT will create a digital twin of the airspace environment to support real-world implementation of perception and navigation functions developed as part of this project, and to provide training for users of these new systems. A virtual test bench will be created to analyse interactions between the real world and an entirely simulated environment.

The key innovation goal of the project is to develop and test the solutions needed for an air vehicle to fly safely and fully autonomously along a previously unannounced flight path. Challenges include real-time flight path optimisation, continuous verification of flight path safety and security, and calculation of all the alternative routes that could be taken should unforeseen circumstances arise.

These capabilities were demonstrated at the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (Centre d'Excellence sur les Drones - CED) test facility in Canada during trials conducted in late 2023 with a UAV provided by Thales for the purposes of this project.

Drawing on the combined expertise of Université Laval and Thales, a new mission planning tool has also been developed to optimise energy use by hybrid aircraft.

The two-year AMAF project encompasses a range of activities including test operations, conferences, scientific seminars and participation in international trade fairs focusing on future air mobility.

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