With growth rising from $2.2 billion in 2019 to $2.6 billion in 2025, or 3.5%, the aviation sector is positioning itself as one of the prime areas for innovation.The cockpit digitalization and transformation in the aeronautics sector offers manufacturers new prospects. Indeed, Airbus expects 22,000 helicopters by 2036 and 37,400 aircraft are expected within 20 years.The response to these new challenges necessarily involves the emergence of new needs and consequently the increasing use of new technologies. This digitalization is taking shape both in production, with the aim of improving the manufacturing process, and among the crews. Whether in commercial aviation, passenger transport or military aviation, each sector is affected and must evolve rapidly and continuously.
Touch technology, for example, will now be an integral part of this cockpit digitalization. Even if, according to some, it is not intended to replace all controls, it is gaining in importance. There is a need to ‘simplify’ controls, optimise workload, improve comfort, reduce reaction time and improve safety.
The aim of this digitalization is therefore to make the process more fluid and optimise it. Cockpits are becoming even more digital, connected and focused on the pilot’s experience.
These new interfaces make all crew interactions more fluid and offer unrivalled speed and precision.
The Group invests in digital and “deep tech” innovations, always putting people at the heart of its decisions.
With a new avionics suite, FlytX, Thales has once again confirmed its leadership position. This suite, which can be adapted from one to four wide screens for aircraft, and which can be adapted to all types of cockpits, whether civil or military, is the result of ten years of research. In cooperation with pilots, doctors, ergonomists and engineers, this innovation is designed for the crew, compact, customisable and connected.
It responds to operational challenges, in particular the reduction of crew training and the optimisation of workload by offering intuitive interfaces, focused on the task in hand, where only relevant information is displayed.
Not only does this technology respond to professional challenges, but it also places the safety of its users at the heart of its concerns. It offers decision support to respect the time margins required in emergency situations and therefore reduces the complexity of tasks.
The screens themselves are designed for the comfort and safety of the pilot. The colours and contrast level are adapted to reduce visual fatigue and present clear and accurate information.
FlytX offers a compact cockpit thanks to its integrated modules. It reduces its impact in terms of volume, weight and power consumption by 30-40% compared to traditional systems.
This avionics suite has already been selected by Airbus Helicopter and the DGA, Direction Générale de l’Armement, to equip the HIL, Light Interarmed Helicopter, Guépard programme.
Thales has indeed started its tests in 2021 on board a Cabri helicopter. This suite, chosen to equip the HIL “Guépard” programme, will be found in 169 aircraft from 2027. The group will provide the armed forces with high-performance, connected and innovative tactical solutions.
These various technologies, currently in the experimental phase, are about to be generalised in the aeronautics sector. Considering that the life cycle of an aircraft interior lasts between 7 and 8 years, innovation in this sector is permanent.
Many players such as Dassault revealed last year the FALCON 10X. It will be able to fly in near-zero visibility conditions, thanks to the FalconEye augmented reality system.
Also in 2020, a consortium between Leonardo, MBDA, and Rolls-Royce is presenting a project for a sixth generation stealth aircraft, the Tempest. It would replace the Eurofighter Typhoon with a budget of €2.3 billion by 2025. The aircraft would feature eye-tracking technology, 3D audio and voice control, and sensors instead of traditional manual controls.
The sector must adapt to the increasingly important demands of the market in terms of performance, responsiveness, ecology, ergonomics and security, both human and cyber. This digitalisation will therefore be given greater prominence in the years to come.
An innovative sector since its beginnings, aeronautics will be able to meet its requirements by taking into account every aspect, economic, ecological, safety and human.