Avionics technology is a category of electronic systems and equipment specifically designed for use in aviation.
Avionics is a blend of the terms “aviation” and “electronics.” The avionics installed in an aircraft or spacecraft can include engine controls, flight control systems, navigation, communications, flight recorders, lighting systems, threat detection, fuel systems, electro-optic (EO/IR) systems, weather radar, performance monitors, and systems that carry out hundreds of other mission and flight management tasks.
Every modern aircraft, spacecraft, and artificial satellite uses electronic systems of varying types to perform a range of functions pertinent to their purpose and mission. Generally, the more complex the craft or mission is, the more complicated the electronic systems are that they employ.
The cockpit of an aircraft is a typical location for avionic equipment, including control, monitoring, communication, navigation, weather and anti-collision systems. The majority of aircraft power their avionics using 14- or 28‑volt DC electrical systems; however, larger, more sophisticated aircraft (such as airliners or military combat aircraft) have AC systems operating at 400 Hz, 115 volts AC.
Like all technology, avionics is constantly evolving. One of the more interesting developments is the creation of the electric hybrid aircraft, an aircraft with a hybrid electric powertrain, as the energy density of lithium-ion batteries is much lower than aviation fuel, it effectively increases the range compared to pure electric aircraft.
In 2018 there were something like 30 electric hybrid aircraft projects underway with a target date of 2032 for short-haul hybrid-electric airliners.
Then there is the autonomous taxi system (also known as flying cars) where researchers are looking at the combination of using visual sensors, fused with data on the airplane, ADS-B In information and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) info as possible future solutions.
Air taxis could cruise at 180 mph at altitudes of around 1,000 ft to 2,000 ft. But NASA has reported they can go up to an altitude of 5,000 ft.
Avionics analysts believe it’s a market that should continue to mature during this decade and then boom globally. The autonomous urban aircraft market may be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040, according to a Morgan Stanley Research study.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Avionics Technology Crash Course, a 2-day crash course that covers advanced avionics technology, Network/IO systems used in these aircraft, digital databus communication, software and hardware architecture, avionics systems design and engineering principles, ARP 475, Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) and ARINC protocols.
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