According to a recent news release, NASA has delivered new technology to Alaskan officials that could help pilots flying over vast wilderness expanses of the state make better flight decisions, especially when disconnected from the Internet, telephone, flight services and other data sources normally used by pilots.
The software innovation, known as the “Traffic and Atmospheric Information for General Aviation” (TAIGA), is comprised of a collection of algorithms and concepts and data. NASA has helped develop a satellite-based communication method though which regional data is sent only to that specific region. The customized data sets can be downloaded by pilots and can be quickly plugged into a mobile application.
To date, NASA has only developed a conceptual version of the mobile software application, which includes full 3-D terrain visualization. The algorithms, concepts and data are all available as an open-source project for further development by the software industry and the aviation community. Throughout this development process, it will be important for all involved parties to incorporate continuous integration processes to confirm code and software updates integrate efficiently.
S. Peter Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, said about the new technology, “We are excited to lend a helping hand to general aviation pilots in Alaska. With the TAIGA app, Alaska pilots will be able to remain independent, but with a dose of safety when needed.”
TAIGA specifically focuses on increasing safety for pilots in Alaska. The next step in development of the TAIGA concept will be for engineers with the State of Alaska to take the NASA concept and develop it to an app that meets the specific needs of Alaskan pilots.
Photo credit: ARC/Joseph Rios