Thales and VoltAero are cooperating to pursue innovative airborne data collection and computing solutions that promise significant enhancements for the autonomy, sustainability and operability of VoltAero’s Cassio electric-hybrid aircraft family.
To achieve this, Thales has installed a demonstrator of its FlytLink Edge Computing system on VoltAero's Cassio 1 testbed aircraft, and the initial validation of technologies is now underway.
The Thales FlytLink Edge Computing system enables real-time processing of imagery from on-board cameras with artificial intelligence supporting such functions as the detection of obstacles and air traffic. The ultra-compact computer, natively connected to the cloud, enables the collection and real-time transmission of data from onboard sensors and avionics, along with the processing of data in flight or on the ground using the latest-generation algorithms, as well as the hosting of applications that facilitate piloting tasks.
Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and Chief Technology Officer, said: “Potential future uses of Thales’s FlytLink Edge Computing solutions on production versions of the Cassio electric-hybrid aircraft family include optimizing route planning for flight operations that are even more efficient and environmentally friendly. The real-time processing of imagery from on-board cameras with artificial intelligence could also support such functions as the detection of obstacles and air traffic, an asset for flight safety.”
"Developing innovative solutions for regional and urban air mobility needs to build on the best of avionics know-how, further improving the safety of these new aircraft and offering breakthrough solutions based on the most advanced technologies," added Marc Duval-Destin, VP Strategy, Product and Innovation of Thales flight avionics activities. “This is precisely what we are implementing with VoltAero – beginning on Cassio 1 – to test and develop solutions that will make a difference for air transportation of tomorrow.”
VoltAero is developing a family of electric-parallel hybrid aircraft based on the company’s proprietary electric-hybrid powertrain. Its Cassio 1 testbed has undergone extensive airborne evaluations since 2020 with VoltAero’s full-power 600-kilowatt electric-hybrid powertrain, logging some 10,000 kilometres in flights in France and to the United Kingdom.
VoltAero (www.voltaero.aero) is taking electric aircraft to an entirely new level. Benefitting from 80-plus years of combined pioneering expertise, VoltAero is developing a truly unique general aviation airplane family, Cassio, for safe, quiet, efficient and eco-friendly flight in electric and electric-hybrid modes. The Cassio 1 testbed aircraft is validating the Cassio hybrid-electric powertrain, de-risking it for airworthiness certification and the subsequent application on VoltAero’s new-production airplanes. Cassio aircraft will be assembled in a purpose-built facility at Rochefort Airport in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France.
Photo: © VoltAero/Jean-Marie Urlacher