Company: avionTek GmbH
avionTek GmbH develops the 3D-PILOT product, a low-cost system (including hardware, software, and a database) that assists general aviation pilots in landing safely on small and poorly equipped fields under bad weather and low visibility conditions.
Most accidents during flights under visual flight rules (VFR) in general aviation occur due to the pilot’s loss of orientation and resulting loss of control in the landing phase, or a loss of situational awareness that leads to a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT).
Therefore, there is a large impending demand for 3D add-on navaids with synthetic vision (SV) and guidance for general aviation pilots to improve the safety of VFR and IFR (instrument flight rules) flights.
Current satellite positioning devices in the low-cost market offer not only 2D moving map navigation, but also new 3D navigation technology using high-precision satellite positioning with tunnel and predictor guidance. In addition to the software, a 3D navigation database needs to be developed worldwide and designed in different levels of detail.
Chapter 10, Annex 15 of the ICAO – as well as other aviation organisations – also recognise the requirements for states to provide “digital data on aerodromes and vicinity terrain that includes obstacles”.
avionTek’s 3D-PILOT products respond to a number of corresponding needs: pilot demand for safe VFR and IFR flight and landing, as well as demand for safe flying/landing at 2,000-plus European airports in general aviation without ground-based navigational landing aids and 30,000-plus airports worldwide based on precise autonomous 3D navigation.
3D-PILOT Hardware, Software, and Database – Precise 3D Satellite Navigation for General Aviation Aircraft
The 3D-PILOT product consists of a 3D satellite-positioning navigational aid with synthetic vision (SV) and autonomous guidance for general aviation on different platforms.
The system’s precise 3D navigation will be provided by corrected satellite signals in combination with high-resolution 3D GIS databases, SV, and autonomous guidance through tunnelling and prediction software. The software and data will be loaded on portable or integrated aircraft navigation hardware to support VFR and IFR flights in general aviation.
3D-PILOT is based on embedded systems and state-of-the-art hardware, software, mapping, and navigation systems. Satellite-based navigation technology is a major and an essential element of the business model.
3D-PILOT’s main functions are:
- 2D navigation and aircraft positioning on standard air navigation maps at different scales
- Automatic and manual switching between different 2D navigation maps
- Automatic and manual switching between different 2D navigation maps and the 3D synthetic vision mode
- Transparent overlaying of tunnel, predictor, and primary flight instruments onto the 3D synthetic vision mode with real-time rendering of the SV, tunnel predictor, and PFD overlay
Three versions of 3D-PILOT will be available:
- 3D-PILOT “PLUS” – a certified high-end product for cockpit integration in general aviation aircraft (including helicopters)
- 3D-PILOT “STANDARD” – a non-certified mobile unit for light sport aircraft (LSA), E-class aircraft, and light helicopters
- 3D-PILOT “TABLET” – software and database for compatible COTS mobile tablet computers for real-time rendering of the SV
The products integrate three main components:
- a powerful, freely mountable or panel-integrated PC with cockpit-proven display technology, touch screen and button-based functionality, and embedded graphics. Aircraft movements and positions are recorded by an externally mountable satellite receiver combined with an IMU unit.
- 2D moving map software for 2D navigation and flight planning; tunnel and predictor software for real-time 3D guidance; user interface software for the display and the breakout box panel;
- Delivers high-precision 3D satellite position data for navigation from different sources, such as EGNOS, GALILEO, and WAAS; Delivers moving map functionality (2D positions, ICAO navigation charts, standard navigation functionality such as flight vectors, courses, routes, waypoints, flight planning, etc.);
- Generates the real-time SV from the cockpit based on the position and attitude of the aircraft with overlaid primary flight instruments, approach tunnels and predictors;
- Handles the 2D and 3D GIS databases, including update functionality; Interfaces with and handles all external sensor inputs used by the system;
- The development of all components and the corresponding programming rules will be strictly documented to provide a basis for the product’s foreseen certification.
- 2D and 3D aeronautical navigation database.
From space to industry
The following space technologies are involved:
- 2D and 3D satellite navigation and positioning using precise technologies such as EGNOS, WAAS, and GALILEO
- Satellite Earth observation and airborne remote-sensing data for land use and land cover
- Precise elevation data from TERRASAR-X and SRTM radar satellites (DTM and DSM)
- SAT phone communication with the unit via Iridium.
avionTek GmbH’s business is based upon the development, manufacture, marketing, and sale of products that so far have been developed into prototypes with financial aid from the EU and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.
The 3D-PILOT product is based on a previous proof-of-concept (the FP6 “LANDING” project) and development of a hardware and software prototype (the ZIM “3D-Pilot” project).
AvionTek will produce the hardware, software and the related 3D GIS database and provide full updates and maintenance services, as well as the necessary licensing of the database at the national and international levels.
ESA Business Incubation
Among them, avionTek’s founders and operating managers have over 75 years of collective professional experience in the fields of aeronautical avionics, satellite navigation, navigation and other databases, avionics testing in simulation and real flights, software, aviation, and system user training.
In delivering 3D-PILOT products, avionTek works with various partners, including Microsys Electronics GmbH, Embedded Office GmbH, and Aircraft Electronic Engineering GmbH. It also receives technical support from the Institute of Flight System Dynamics and the Institute of Computer Graphics and Visualization at the Technische Universität München, as well as financial support from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs. The company is currently searching for investors to finance its upcoming production of hardware.
avionTek is currently benefiting from the facilities at the ESA Business Incubation Centre Bavaria (Oberpfaffenhofen), the nearby network of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), other space companies in the area, and its contact with relevant industry and research experts.
avionTek GmbH is hosted at ESA BIC Bavaria (Oberpfaffenhofen) from December 2011 to December 2013.
Phone: +49 (0) 8105 77277-79
Fax: +49 (0) 8105 77277-55
Mobile: +49 (0) 170 3156882
Phone: +49 (0) 8105 77277-78
Fax: +49 (0) 8105 77277-55
Mobile: +49 (0) 160 1072654
Friedrichshafener Str. 1
Tel.: +49 8105 77277-79
Fax: +49 8105 77277-55
Last update: 5 April 2012