By S.L. Fuller | December 15, 2017
Airbus Helicopters has validated its Project Eagle in flight. The company said tests were performed on an H225 flying testbed.
According to Airbus, the trials demonstrated the system’s ability to select a small ground “target” from ranges of up to two miles. The system can also automatically track targets during the approach performed by the pilot. The flight tests have also validated Eagle’s architecture and main components, Airbus said, such as the gyrostabilized optronics package and the processing unit.
The next step of the test program has the manufacturer focusing on coupling Eagle with the automatic flight control system. This would fully automate the approach to a selected landing area, according to Airbus.
Eagle — an acronym for “Eye for Autonomous Guidance and Landing Extension” — is a research project that aims to federate the entire helicopter’s image processing functions and feed them into the avionics system. Airbus said this would improve the crew’s situation awareness and reduce the pilot’s workload by automating and securing approaches, takeoff and landing. The system is designed to be integrated on a variety of existing and future Airbus VTOL vehicles.