Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles Here at the AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations Conference in Los Angeles we’ve been absorbing the industry buzz and looking for new applications for our modular technical furniture and industrial workbenches.
What Do You Think Will be the Breakout Aviation Stories in 2014?
What are the hot topics for the aviation industry during the coming year? Here are three suggestions we put forward at the beginning of the conference:
1) Sustainable, Environmentally-friendly Aviation Technology Ramps Up
Not content with being the first to circumnavigate the world in a balloon, Bertrand Piccard, along with his Swiss businessman partner André Borschberg, set a world-record earlier this year in their Solar Impulse — the first solar plane to fly from San Francisco to New York. The plane has a 200 foot wide wing covered with over 12,000 solar cells powering on-board batteries that enable night flight. But until solar/electric battery technology (or some other breakthrough) can carry passengers across the globe, researchers are investigating ways to make aviation fuel more sustainable and environmentally friendly. In the last 12 months, AeroMexico, Thomson Airways and United have conducted commercial demonstration flights using bio-fuels derived from jatropha, cooking oil and algae respectively.
2) Drones are the Future of Commercial Aircraft Flight
Developments in military drone technology are moving very quickly. The launch of a Northrop Grumman X-47B this past May from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush was impressive, but even more impressive was the same X-47B performing a cable arrested carrier landing in July. What role will drones play in commercial flight? The advent of driverless cars promoted by Google and other tech companies on the ground is one thing, but will we soon see remote piloting of commercial aircraft in our skies? Would passengers willingly fly without a captain seated in the pointy end of the aircraft? The public’s opinion toward civilian drone technology could be irreparably harmed if there were a cyber attack on a drone fleet, which brings us to suggestion three…
3) Cybersecurity Risks to Aviation Communication Infrastructure
The risk of cyber attacks was on our mind as we arrived at the AAIA conference. Just before we left Austin, students at the University of Texas demonstrated they successfully spoofed a GPS signal causing an $80 million yacht to go off course in the Mediterranean. While this was done with the knowledge and permission of the yacht’s owner, it was a wake-up call to security and networking systems analysts in the AIAA community to act decisively to prevent cyber attacks from interfering with aviation navigation and communication systems.
And the Winner at the AIAA Aviation 2013 Conference was… Aviation Cybersecurity!
The big news here at the conference was yesterday’s release of AIAA’s decision paper “A Framework for Aviation Cybersecurity”, which outlines the AIAA’s recommendations to protect the world’s $2.3 trillion dollar commercial aviation business — equivalent to 3.5% of global GDP. The core recommendations are:
- Apply a common set of cybersecurity standards across the world
- Ensure a cybersecurity culture
- Understand the threats and risks and provide a timely response
- Strengthen the defensive systems
- Define design, operational, R&D requirements
- Get government and industry working together
In our view, the good news from AIAA’s sobering set of recommendations is the worldwide aviation community has successfully overcome past challenges in communications, technology infrastructure and safety culture to make commercial aviation the safest form of transport in the world. We are confident that international organizations like the AIAA, aviation industry leaders, and international governments can come together to develop a coordinated response model to manage cybersecurity threats as well.
Interested in More Aerospace Technology?
The AIAA SPACE 2013 Conference & Exposition will be held next month from September 10th through 12th at the San Diego Convention Center. And, as always, whether you are at a research lab, an aviation/aerospace manufacturing facility or at an MRO facility, be sure to contact us here at Formaspace if you are looking for modern technical furniture, including industrial workbenches and professional computer workstations.