Embraer and Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Ufes) collaboration in the areas of autonomous robotics and artificial intelligence has resulted in the first test of an autonomous aircraft in Brazil.

A prototype was created to perform the taxiing operation on its own, moving along a previously established path without human interference.

Using sensor and image navigation technology led the aircraft through the runway, taxi area and patio independently, without outside assistance. A pilot followed the cockpit operation in case of any interference.

For the past six months, researchers from Embraer and Ufes have worked together on mathematical and computational models of automation, software development, hardware, laser sensor kit, GPS and cameras, as well as systems integration into the aeronautical platform.

The autonomous land navigation system was tested in a simulator during preliminary assessments prior to actual operation.

Daniel Moczydlower, Embraer’s executive vice president of engineering and technology, said: “Our strategy for technology development in autonomous systems seeks to position the country at the forefront of artificial intelligence processes in a variety of applications.

“Achieving this technological milestone in Embraer’s 50th anniversary month demonstrated not only the importance of bringing industry closer to the university, but also how prepared and engaged our people are for the journey of excellence needed for the coming decades.”

The integrated artificial intelligence system monitored the aircraft’s external and internal conditions, acting independently on the acceleration, steering and braking commands.

The partnership with Ufes seeks to accelerate the knowledge of autonomous systems technologies through the implementation of more agile experimentation processes.