Honeywell unveils new compact fly-by-wire system for urban air vehicles

Honeywell has unveiled a new compact "fly-by-wire" system that is approximately the size of a paperback book.

Jun 4th, 2019
Honeywell And Velocopter
Honeywell and Velocopter

PHOENIX, Ariz., - Honeywell has unveiled a new compact "fly-by-wire" system that is approximately the size of a paperback book. The computer packs the "brains" of an airliner's flight controls into one system, and is the next step towards autonomous and Urban Air Mobility vehicles.

The flight control computer from Honeywell adds stability to these aircraft designs by driving electric actuators and dynamically adjusting flight surfaces and motors for smoothly following flight paths. It reduces turbulence and eliminates the need for heavy hydraulics, control cables or pushrods.

The flight control computer has architectural features derived from Honeywell's proven and certified existing compact fly-by-wire systems for airplanes and is built to aviation industry certification standards, providing the highest levels of availability and integrity.

Honeywell's offering features a triplex flight control computer architecture, providing multiple backup options and eliminating the risk of relying on one system failure. In addition, each computer uses lockstep processing, meaning it has two processing channels that constantly check each other's work. These features provide the safest and most reliable operation that will meet the future requirements of transporting passengers in highly populated urban areas.

Dubbed compact fly-by-wire system because the controls are augmented by electronics versus purely manual controls, this new compact computer can be held in one hand compared with similar technologies installed on larger aircraft that are roughly the size and weight of a fully loaded suitcase. Honeywell's solution will draw less power, cost a fraction of current systems, and can be used on multiple aircraft types, including more traditional aircraft vehicle designs.

Honeywell plans to demonstrate the new system June 11–12 at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C.

More in Unmanned