Flying is easy and safe with a smart autopilot

Flying is easy and safe with a smart autopilot

14. 03. 2014

The research group AeroWorks has designed a smart autopilot with which (only slightly exaggerating) even a child could fly a plane. The system has been tested with success in an experimental plane and now it is being prepared for commercial applications. The smart autopilot was awarded the golden medal at the International Engineering Fair 2013 in Brno.

Flying safely, particularly with small planes, is a complex activity that demands a pilot’s full attention and requires substantial experience. The autopilot function can take over some of these activities and makes flying a plane easier, it enhances the flight safety and releases the pilot’s attention for other activities (e.g. navigation).

The smart autopilot system is hardware-connected with the plane and integrated into the on-board computer. The low weight and low energy consumption of the smart autopilot will replace bulky devices used hitherto in small airplanes. The system is controlled intuitively via a touch interface and a controller on the control stick. The autopilot controls the speed of the flight, maintains altitude and direction towards the selected destination based on the flight trajectory entered into the system using a touch map. The autopilot can be easily disconnected at any time and full manual control resumed.

Compared to available autopilots, it not only controls altitude and direction, it is also connected to the fuel unit. Thus it also controls the flight speed, which would otherwise have to be controlled and adjusted manually by the pilot. Connected up to a synthetic 3D map of the terrain, the autopilot can keep an eye on maintaining an operationally safe altitude.


The smart autopilot is available for demonstrations in a flight simulator at the Faculty of Information Technology. The current autopilot is appropriate for integration in light-sport aircraft, in particular ultralight planes; for the future a modification for bigger planes, which are subject to stricter standards and certifications, is planned.

logo Aeroworks negThe research group operates in the Department of Computer Graphics and Multimedia at the Faculty of Information Technology. The group is engaged in developing solutions for increasing the effectiveness and safety of flying. The team, which comprises Ing. Peter Chudý, Ph.D., MBA, Mgr. Karol Rydlo, Ing. Petr Dittrich and Ing. Jan Vlk), was awarded the Rector’s Medal for the smart autopilot project. The creation of the smart autopilot was supported by a grant from the TAČR project TA 01010678 and implemented in cooperation with the aviation company Evektor spol. s r.o.

The author of the used photos is Karol Rydlo © Archives of Brno Faculty of Information Technology BUT.


FaLang translation system by Faboba