Appareo has introduced a new flight app called Stratus Insight. Stratus Insight is an electronic flight bag (EFB) suite that includes VFR sectional maps, IFR low/high charts, geo-referenced approach plates, TAWS, and AHRS with synthetic vision. Beyond typical EFB features, Stratus Insight also provides ATC radio transcription and playback, vertical weather profile, radar forecast and smart flight plan. The Stratus Insight application supports integration with all generations of Stratus receivers, which provide subscription-free weather, WAAS GPS information and ADS-B traffic to the app during flight.
Stratus Insight is one of two software applications in the Stratus family of pilot-friendly affordable avionics. The other app, Stratus Horizon Pro, was the industry's first app to provide ATC radio transcription and playback to pilots. Those features are now also available in the new Stratus Insight EFB to give pilots the option of flying with an “all-in-one” app experience.
At its core, Stratus Insight is a full-featured EFB designed to make pilots' lives easier and to provide enhanced situational awareness in the cockpit. Stratus Insight's weather tools were designed to give pilots a deeper understanding of weather for improved preflight planning, for example, weather modeling products such as radar forecast, and a vertical weather profile tool that allows pilots to see conditions across their route of flight based on their aircraft speed and departure time. If changes in weather advisories force a pilot to take an alternate route, Stratus Insight goes beyond simply listing alternate airports; the smart flight plan tool considers fuel stops and day/night currency.
Stratus Insight displays supplemental attitude information driven by a Stratus receiver, essentially creating a “backup glass cockpit” on the iPad, with an impressive synthetic vision view. The app can also be paired with a Bluetooth headset or audio panel to alert pilots with TAWS or runway information.
Beyond its full-featured EFB functionality, Stratus Insight boasts a custom aviation speech recognition system. When paired with a Stratus audio cable, the ATC radio transcription feature works similar to visual voicemail. ATC communications are converted into text and displayed directly above the audio playback line, providing a helpful visual assist for referencing previous audio clips. This enables pilots to receive a clearance, ATIS or other important ATC communications without needing to write them down.
The speech recognition and language understanding technology that drives the radio transcription feature was custom-designed by the Artificial Intelligence (AI) division at Appareo. “We are focused on developing machine learning technology to reduce workload and increase safety in the cockpit,” says Appareo AI systems director Josh Gelinske.
At a global scale, speech recognition, translation, and transcription features are commonplace (such as Alexa and Siri). However, ATC communications present many challenges for these common speech recognition systems. The high rate of speech, noisy signal, narrow frequency band and unique location identifiers are among those challenges. Appareo identified that shortfall in the existing technology and set out to develop a speech recognition system customised for aviation.
“We began by designing a deep neural network and training it on thousands of hours of speech and hundreds of hours of ATC data,” says Gelinske. Appareo then designed a custom aviation speech recognition system that was able to run on mobile devices without requiring cellular service or internet connection, so there would be no accessibility limitations during flight.
As Gelinske explains, “Natural language processing is also used to interpret the output of the speech recognition system, to present it in a more pilot-friendly format. For example, tail numbers, altitudes, runways and frequencies are transcribed in a way that will be more helpful to pilots.”
Appareo Aviation president Kris Garberg explains, “this new AI technology is the baseline for exciting features we have in our app roadmap, which is focused on creating a safer, more convenient way to fly.”
Stratus Insight is available for download from the Apple Store, and is available only for iOS devices.
The company has also received FAA approval for installation of Stratus transponders in Part 27 aircraft. The STC-AML includes Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopter, Leonardo and Robinson Helicopter types. The H-variant models, named Stratus ES-H and Stratus ESG-H, are now available through the Appareo's authorised dealer network, and retail for the same price as the Part 23 transponders.
Stratus ESG-H is designed to be an all-in-one box solution for ADS-B mandate compliance, Stratus ESG-H is a 1090 Extended Squitter (ES) transponder with built-in certified WAAS GPS.
Stratus ES-H is designed for aircraft owners who have already invested in WAAS GPS, Stratus ES-H will make an aircraft rule-compliant when paired with any of the following navigators: Garmin GPS 175; 400W, GNC 420W/420 AW, and GNS 430W/430AW with software version 5.00 or later; GNS 480 (CNX80); 500W and GNS 530W/530AW/530TAWS with software version 5.02 or later; 6XX and 7XX with software version 3.00 or later; and Avidyne IFD440 and IFD540 with software version 10.0.3.0 or later.
Both models are certified 1090 ES ADS-B Out transponders designed with the common 1.65” form factor to easily replace existing transponders. Stratus transponders can be connected to an ADS-B In receiver for the complete ADS-B experience.