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The UK CAA, CAA International, Innaxis and DataBeacon sign an MoU to cooperate in the adoption of Digital Assistants

Paula López-Catalá
March 8, 2023

Today, we stand at the cusp of a revolutionary transformation in aviation, which embraces the integration of AI and digitalization. Big data and cloud computing solutions have paved the way for handling extensive historical datasets, which can now be utilized to train AI algorithms and assist human operators. Undoubtedly, these cost-effective solutions offer significant benefits and can be utilized in aviation, ranging from forensic analysis to decision support tools based on machine learning predictions to support pilots on the flight deck, aid air traffic controllers to unlock more capacity, or facilitate airport operations and security processes. Higher degrees of automation are being envisioned by the industry.

The adoption of these promising technologies also entails new challenges for the regulatory and certification processes to ensure the safe integration of systems and tools. Additional human-centric research and development is required in this field to facilitate the implementation of Digital Assistants in aviation operations. The collaboration between safety agencies, technology developers and end users is more important than ever to succeed in the safe integration of AI-powered technologies in our industry. In 2022 the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA), CAAi, Innaxis and DataBeacon started a synergistic collaboration in projects of applied research and development to progress in the adoption of data technologies by the aviation sector, including data engineering, cloud architectures, machine learning and AI techniques. This is the case of the SafeTeam project, funded by Horizon Europe and supported by UK Research and Innovation, aimed at advancing research in human factors concerning the use of digital assistants in aviation.

The UK CAA, CAAi, Innaxis and DataBeacon have expressed their willingness to sustain their cooperation and work together in research programmes and initiatives and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize it.  This collaboration encourages both leading institutions to support the creation and safe integration of Digital Assistants in response to real business needs and stakeholders such as airlines, air navigation service providers, airports, public authorities and related entities.

Rob Olney, Head of Safety and Business Delivery at the UK CAA commented “we recognize the challenge that safety regulators face as we observe rapid developments of AI and digitalization.  This agreement builds on our existing collaborations with Innaxis and DataBeacon enabling us to both address these challenges and also to maximize opportunities for improving safety in aviation”.

“We are convinced on the benefits that Digital Assistants will bring to our industry supporting human operators in their daily tasks to reduce their workload, unlock additional capacity and further boost their performance. Collaborating with the CAA is a unique opportunity for us to facilitate the transition to a new era for aviation where it can take advantage from the latest technology with the highest safety standards”, said DataBeacon CEO and Innaxis’ President, David Perez.

About UK CAA – The UK Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s aviation regulator. We work so that the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards and consumers have choice, value for money, are protected and treated fairly when they fly.

About CAAi – CAA International (CAAi) is the independent technical cooperation arm of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA). CAAi provides regulatory advice, training, capacity building programmes and examination services to aviation regulators and industry organisations across the globe. Drawing on world-leading expertise from within the UK regulator, CAAi helps organisations design and implement regulatory best practice to comply with international regulatory standards.

About DataBeacon  DataBeacon takes a human-centric approach to integrating data and machine learning into a wide spectrum of air traffic operations with reliability, scalability and maintainability as cornerstones of the technology. Leveraging cutting edge technology and continuously adapting to new advances, DataBeacon’s digital assistants cover new functionalities that were never thought possible before.

About Innaxis – Innaxis is a cutting-edge research centre focusing on data science and artificial intelligence for aviation and mobility. Innaxis consists of a very interdisciplinary group of researchers, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who work hard to solve the most challenging problems.