AI can be used to get more pilots in the sky based on SYDE Prof's research

Friday, May 24, 2024

A research team at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA) is using artificial intelligence (AI) to train more airline pilots in less time, for less money and in a more environmentally friendly way.

The project is led by Dr. Shi Cao, a professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering, with support from the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

Canada faces a significant pilot shortage, needing 7,300 more pilots by 2025, according to the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace. Cao, an expert in human-factors engineering, believes solving this requires collaboration across industry, government and academia.

“The core idea of our research is to see how accurately AI could help assess pilot performance and support instructors in pilot training,” explained Cao. “The goal is not to replace humans with AI, but to assist and support humans with AI.”

Today, pilot training programs blend traditional methods such as lectures, written materials and flying hours with new technologies.

“Flight simulators have become more common in recent years, creating opportunities to experiment with novel training methods. However, there is still much to explore around technologies such as data analytics, wearable sensors, virtual reality and augmented reality,” Cao said.

This research project was funded by a $296,500 Research-for-Impact contribution delivered through WISA. That funding is part of a $9.17 million investment by FedDev Ontario as part of its Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative. In total, WISA supported 38 Research-for-Impact projects.

Go to Up, up and away with WISA and AI for the full story.

This article was originally posted on the Waterloo News website.