California, USA-based Xwing and Switzerland-based Daedalean are to formally partner on developing standards and design assurance processes for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in aircraft.
The two companies are to share data, knowledge, and processes to accelerate the time-to-market for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications and to enhance safety.
Both are working in the same field with their respective regulators, the FAA and EASA to certify autonomous and safety-enhancing flight systems for aircraft.
Xwing is developing its Superpilot system, initially so it can be used to fly uncrewed commercial cargo aircraft in the USA.
Daedalean has been working on several projects, notably with US avionics firm Avidyne on PilotEye, a traffic detection system that tracks and classifies fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and drones.
No machine learning (ML) based safety-critical applications have made their way into the cockpit of civil aviation so far. Aviation regulators have been working on how machine learning fits into their design assurance processes and how to adjust the respective standards.
Both companies believe that forming a consensus on assurance approaches and sharing information is the best way to advance the development of certification standards.
“In this emerging industry, it’s as crucial to collaborate with fellow pioneers as it is to partner with regulators around the world,” said Luuk van Dijk, co-founder and CEO of Daedalean, “With this shared undertaking, we will be able to demonstrate that increasing safety is driving innovation and that a collaborative approach to harmonize regulations and standards ensures that best practices are universally adopted.”
Both Xwing and Daedalean have published papers that outline approaches to certification. For example, Xwing’s Formal and Practical Elements for the Certification of Machine Learning Systems and Daedalean’s Concepts of Design Assurance for Neural Networks series.
“At Xwing, we balance our commitment to a strong safety culture with our push for technical innovation,“ said Maxime Gariel, president and chief technical officer of Xwing, “Our collaboration with Daedalean underscores this philosophy and the importance we place on sharing data, knowledge, and processes to inform a credible path forward toward certification for the industry as a whole as we work closely with regulators.”
While Daedalean and Xwing have independently developed frameworks for the certification of AI-based systems, both companies agree that higher levels of safety can be achieved on a shorter timeline by sharing knowledge and relevant flight data so that all stakeholders – industry, regulators, and the public – can make significant progress on the path to certifying AI systems.