GE unveils open Avionics demonstrator to unlock innovation and reduce costs

Open Avionics providing customers with the ability to control their destiny

July 16, 2018
  • Allows operator and mission-specific tailoring
  • Enables affordable and quicker upgrades throughout the lifetime of an aircraft

GE Aviation is highlighting new approaches to Avionics, and its commitment to innovation, with the showcasing of an integrated open avionics demonstrator in its pavilion P2 at the Farnborough International Air Show. In the form of a fully functional open systems flight deck, the demonstrator incorporates the hardware, tools and infrastructure to support a range of connected software applications.

"With our domain experience in existing open systems on the Boeing 787 and the Gulfstream G500/G600, we're seeing how significant improvements can be made for the wider aviation industry," said Alan Caslavka, president of Avionics for GE Aviation. "Open systems are unlocking innovation and reducing costs for the aviation industry as we move into the next generation of connected, autonomous and optimized aircraft," continued Caslavka. "Its pedigree built from core computing, IO and networking solutions, GE Aviation is now harnessing open system approaches in its latest flight management and flight deck solutions."

"Our customers tell us that they have major frustrations with the inflexibility and high cost of change in some avionics systems," said Caslavka. "We aim to give our customers the tools to control the configuration of their own systems, avoiding vendor lock and creating a lower-cost route to innovation."

Flight deck solutions synthesise aircraft data, convert it into useful information for the crew, and display the results. There is significant opportunity, through the ongoing customization and introduction of new display applications, to unlock operational improvements. GE Aviation continues to develop the underlying software and hardware platform, and the enabling toolchain that provide customers with the ability to customise the look and feel of the flight deck.

Customers have highlighted cautions and warnings, system synoptics, checklists and military mission applications as those in need of frequent customisation," said Caslavka "and we have OEMs today using our beta tools to validate their effectiveness and the value they can unlock."

Aside from the main flight deck displays, in recent years there has been an increase in electronic flight bags (EFB). However, current EFB applications are unable to integrate or seamlessly connect with the aircraft's flight management system (FMS). By defining an open secure and certified route to sharing data, GE can provide the pilot with the ability to optimise route planning on an EFB and deploy it directly into the aircraft flight plan (via the FMS). This capability is demonstrated on the open avionics demonstrator, with commercially available EFBs, running GE Aviation's connected flight management system and FlightPulsetmapplications; this digital solution gives airline operators and its pilots the power to improve safety, operational efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

GE Aviation continues to invest in our vision of Open Avionics and in the case of our next-generation open flight deck technologies in partnership with the UK Government, leading UK aerospace companies (BAE Systems and Rolls Royce) and UK academic excellence (Coventry and Southampton) via the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK.