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Sit Back, Nvidia Tegra Can Land Your Plane

While there is much more to this device than just hardware, it is rather impressive what an ARM based processor is able to accomplish today. According to Nvidia, the Runway Seeker relies on a Colibri T20 Tegra module for all necessary calculations to take the plane on a path to the nearest airport and land it on a runway.

"As the plane flies, the Tegra calculates a glide path to every runway within range 30 times a second, taking into account factors such as wind speeds, runway lengths, terrain and potential obstacles," Nvidia wrote in a blog post. "For humans to estimate that in the middle of an emergency is very difficult to do, whereas it is relative easy and unemotional for a powerful microprocessor to do,” said Marc Ausman, co-founder of Vertical Power. There are plenty of other scenarios in which such a system could come in handy, especially for those pilots on rely on flying by sight.

Vertical Power said that the device also uses flight simulation software by X-Plane as well as a databases that describe airports, terrain, and any obstacles that could be encountered.

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  • rantoc
    Even the simplest pocket calculator today have the computational power for this, just need the data to "crunch"
    Reply
  • killerclick
    They should do this for cargo planes first, less consequences if something goes wrong.
    Reply
  • NuclearShadow
    That is pretty cool but I think I would much rather prefer a human pilot despite this. With how airline workers are known to tend to strike I can only imagine how much push the airline companies will push to try to have it accepted by the FAA (and the other nations versions of such) to have them actually fly without a single human pilot.

    If you think I am being overly paranoid. The CEO of Ryanair wants to take not only seat belts out of planes but the seats themselves. The idea is you could herd and fit more people like cattle this way.
    What to do in the case of turbulence to avoid injury he gives no suggestions. If a airline company would be willing to put people in that much risk for profits would it not make sense for them to save money by removing the pilot and co-pilot and have a computer that they would not have to pay to do the same job and remove the chance of a worker strike?
    Reply
  • scannall
    This is a solution looking for a problem. Commercial aircraft have had this ability for quite some time now. It is neat though, in that it is an example of just how far technology has come in a relatively short period of time.
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    Bleh.

    You take all of the spacecraft built up to and including the space shuttle and they had less computing power than an old Pentium, yet these things managed to land, navigate space, worked reliably for over 30 years.
    Reply
  • SuperVeloce
    yup, apollo worked on an abakus :). Space Shuttles on 8086 and later on 80386
    Reply
  • ddpruittBleh.You take all of the spacecraft built up to and including the space shuttle and they had less computing power than an old Pentium, yet these things managed to land, navigate space, worked reliably for over 30 years.
    I have a shovel that dates from before the Space Age, it still works, go figure!
    Reply
  • Maxx_Power
    Humans > Machines. We have creativity in problem solving, not just computational power. Should a plane be in trouble, I would MUCH prefer the creativity of humans to find a solution, usually outside the box.

    Any one here watches "Mayday" ?
    Reply
  • azraa
    Flying is for droids.

    -Obi-Wan Kenobi
    Reply
  • ojas
    Still can't play Crysis, can it? :P
    Reply