There are two kinds of artificial intelligence: “weak” and “strong” AI. Weak AI is designed to perform a specific task at a human level, but can only perform its given task. Strong AI, meanwhile, has all of the intellectual capacity and processing power of a human brain, and can learn beyond its programming through observation and recalculation of its algorithms. Thanks to advances in neural networks, as seen in game-playing systems such as DeepStack and Libratus, the capacities of artificial intelligence have increased. Aviation is currently experimenting with strong AI, including systems capable of independent machine learning.
Complex engineered products are more likely to meet performance requirements when NDA are used. Aircraft structural health management has always relied upon NDA, with systems investigating root causes and identifying solutions. Management of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) will use NDA for trajectory-based operations (TBO) to account for aircraft position and weather uncertainty. Carbonell is working on an artificial intelligence system that can identify holes in aircraft security, cross-check references from multiple aircraft, and dig for data to solve the issue, all autonomously.
Future flight decks may contain, or be expected to interact with, software “intelligent agents.” The characteristics of these agents may differ significantly from most software tools in use today. The increasing complexity of technology drives the need for such NDA. Entities such as Baomar and DARPA are testing intelligent autopilot systems, with DARPA’s ALIAS project landing and flying a simulated Boeing 737 in isolation.
- Certification challenges due to non-deterministic nature of AI outputs from integrated modular architectures
- Pilots not understanding intent and actions of AI avionics
- Failure to achieve robustness, as defined under DO-178B guidelines – the very specific proof that under all application failure conditions, a single failure in one partition will not affect other partitions.