CINCINNATI, Ohio, 25 Sept. 2014. The avionics sector sits at the intersection of two major technology domains: electronics and aeronautical – with the added pressure of certification, describes Marc Gatti of Thales Avionics during his talk, titled “Technological Changes and Competitive Advantage: the New Deal for Avionics Firms,” at the SAE Aerospace Systems and Technology Conference (ASTC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, this week.
“The goal is to understand the influence of certification requirements on competition,” Gatti continues, presenting a study of patents issued over time, since 1980. All avionics domains -- digital computers, flight controls, navigation, optics, and switches -- showed continued growth over the past 30 years.
Switches showed the most promise for new players in avionics. Aeronautics firms are divesting head-up display (HUD) technology, coming mostly from military domains. Aircraft manufacturers are active players since 1990 on flight controls and integrated modular avionics (IMA), competing with their suppliers and small- and medium-size enterprises (SME).
“The HUD is the only one system where aeronautics firms are losing power,” Gatti summarizes. “On high-critical systems, the number of aeronautics firms is growing, despite the wave of mergers in the 1990s. A relation may exist between the critical level of a system and the competition of the firms able to make it. Future work will be dedicated to the identification of technological cycles and the role of suppliers in the innovation of display technologies.”