Hyderabad-based engineering and data analytics firm Cyient has announced a partnership with US-based technology conglomerate Honeywell to build cloud-connected airplane cockpits. The companies said in a joint statement that the cloud-based cockpit system, called Honeywell Anthem, will feature “intuitive” interface setups that will be based on the interface of modern, connected devices. The setup will also upgrade the cloud connectivity standard of airplane cockpits to offer real-time data and onboard analytics, alongside the existing cockpit instrumentation that Honeywell already offers.
The Anthem avionics suite was unveiled in October last year, and comes with a flexible software platform that could allow it to be used in a wide range of aircraft types that include passenger planes, cargo planes, private business jets and even helicopters.
To be sure, Honeywell is not the first company in the world that has offered cloud connectivity for avionics in the world. Garmin International, which is one of the biggest manufacturers of avionics and in-flight systems, also offers cloud connectivity for a wide range of aircrafts.
Having a cloud-connected aviation cockpit means that airlines can cut down on their own data server costs, and also streamline their operations by partnering with cloud platform providers. However, experts have argued that offering cloud connectivity in aircraft infrastructure could also lead to critical cyber security risks – such as exposing crucial private information in terms of high profile passengers aboard a plane through leaked databases and misconfigured cloud servers.
In turn, such risks could pose potential hazards to aircrafts, unless a security policy is clearly adopted across the industry, experts have said.
Cyient will be the manufacturing partner for Honeywell’s cloud connected cockpits, and will offer manufacturing and testing facilities for the Anthem avionics suite. The cloud connectivity aboard aircrafts fitted with Honeywell Anthem avionics features will remain connected to the network infrastructure even when an aircraft is powered off and is in its hangar. It will use Wi-Fi or cellular network terminals on the ground, and satellite connectivity based on Ku- and Ka-bands when in the air.
The suite will offer pilots and the entire flight crew with an always-connected interface that gives access to third party aircraft radar data, live service and maintenance status, operational coordination with ground facilities when in the air, and more.
The avionics setup is now under production, and the first supplies will be rolled out by the end of this year, Cyient said in a statement.