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UTX Develops Next-Gen Vehicle Management Computer To Support Autonomous Flight

UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (UTX), said that it is developing a next-gen vehicle management computer or VMC that features triple multi-core processors, high-speed communications and open architecture for use in high-redundancy flight critical applications. The next-gen VMC will enable fly-by-wire technology and autonomous flight for new and retrofit applications in civil and military aircraft.

UTC Aerospace Systems is developing the next-gen VMC to meet or exceed regulatory agencies' requirements for safety critical applications and to be "certification ready" for use on civil and military rotorcraft, fixed wing and unmanned aerial systems. Its open system architecture coupled with a modular hardware and software design will make it adaptable to a wide variety of applications. The system will be available as a retrofit for existing aircraft as well as future platforms.

UTC Aerospace Systems is self-funding a multi-million dollar investment to design, develop and test the next-gen VMC and develop the software needed to run the product. The company expects to announce a launch customer within a year and begin deliveries in 2022.

In addition, UTC Aerospace Systems announced the opening of a new Intelligent Aircraft Technologies Lab based in Rockford, Illinois. The lab is dedicated to the accelerated development of more intelligent and connected aircraft systems to optimize airline operational efficiency while providing new insights for the design and manufacture of highly reliable products.

The company said the lab will initially be focused on the implementation of health monitoring solutions for generators, air compressors, fans and motor controllers and is planned to quickly expand to include many other components. This flexible environment will enable technicians and engineers to simulate various scenarios and set parameters to analyze responses in order to validate early warning indicators of components and systems.

Separately, UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp., said that All Nippon Airways (ANA) has selected to pilot the advanced prognostics and health management (PHM) solution Ascentia, to provide data-driven repair recommendations that will enhance operational efficiency and improve dispatch reliability of ANA's fleet of Boeing 787s.

Through this pilot program, UTC Aerospace Systems will provide full-flight data analytics, near-real-time analysis and proactive maintenance recommendations targeting decreased occurrences of costly delays, cancellations and unscheduled maintenance.

In ongoing UTC Aerospace Systems pilot programs, airline customers realized more than a 30 percent decrease in potential delays and cancellations related to components and systems monitored by the PHM platform for the 787 fleet.

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