Airbus partners with simulation firm on future autonomous air warfare platform

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Airbus Defence and Space and simulation firm Ansys are partnering on a software tool that will help develop, test and certify the flight control software for the autonomous drones that will form part of the European Future Combat Air System.

The partnership will develop an Ansys software tool for the development of flight controls and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable the autonomous flight of the drones by 2030.

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is pan-European effort to develop next generation fighter jets and autonomous drones that are connected using secure high-speed communications to each other and naval and land combat systems.

The AI-driven flight control software for the drones will be required to perform sophisticated decision making fast and accurately. The Airbus and Ansys partnership will develop an Ansys SCADE tool to produce and test embedded software that links traditional model-based software development with new AI-based development flow.

SCADE is used to design software, such as flight control and engine control systems, landing gear systems, automatic pilots, power and fuel management systems and cockpit displays. The new tool will drive the development, certification and embedding of the drone flight control software and help to reduce development time and associated expenses, said Ansys

Sabine Klauke, head of engineering at Airbus Defence and Space said, “Building on our longstanding collaboration, we are excited to extend our partnership with Ansys to design the next generation of Ansys SCADE that will deliver an exponential leap to our autonomous capabilities. This innovation empowers us to cost-effectively deploy AI-driven flight controls in safety critical functions.

“Ansys SCADE will be invaluable for designing and certifying our software, significantly reducing expense, dropping the number of costly manual activities and potentially cutting development time by 50% — delivering a critical competitive advantage.”

Eric Bantegnie, vice president and general manager at Ansys said, “Our collaboration radically upgrades drone capabilities and raises the bar for creating revolutionary, AI-driven flight control software across the aviation industry.”

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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