FARGO, North Dakota (July 20, 2018) — Appareo today announced a software addition to the Stratus family of pilot-friendly affordable avionics. Stratus Horizon Pro is a free iOS application that displays a backup Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS), delivers firmware updates to Stratus receivers, offers Radio Playback, and will soon include Radio Transcription. The company will exhibit this app along with its full line of Stratus products next week at the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 fly-in and expo.
Stratus Horizon Pro displays supplemental attitude information driven by a Stratus receiver — essentially creating a “backup glass cockpit” on your iPad. The AHRS feature aligns itself automatically, so pilots can just turn it on and fly. Pilots will experience a very responsive pitch and bank instrument within the app, which becomes an excellent backup for emergency situations.
When paired with a Stratus Audio Cable, the Radio Playback feature captures Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications and saves them for easy one-touch playback. This gives pilots the ability to repeat radio communications without having to ask for a “say again.”
“Pilots are going to love the ability to tap their iPad for a quick audio playback, rather than ask controllers to repeat themselves,” said Appareo Aviation President Kris Garberg. “But we’re not stopping there. We have more exciting features in development for this app.”
Coming soon in the premium version will be a Radio Transcription feature. Similar to how visual voicemail works, the ATC communications will be converted into text and displayed directly above the audio playback line, providing a helpful visual assist for referencing previous audio clips.
“Receiving a clearance, ATIS or any other important ATC communication has never been easier when you don’t need to write it down,” Garberg said.
The speech recognition and language understanding technology that drives the Radio Transcription feature was custom-designed by the Artificial Intelligence (AI) division at Appareo. “Stratus Horizon Pro is an exciting first step toward AI-assisted technology for pilots,” said Appareo AI Systems Director Josh Gelinske. “We look forward to building on the core of this machine learning technology to reduce workload and increase safety in the cockpit. ”
At a global scale, speech recognition, translation, and transcription features are becoming increasingly more commonplace (e.g. Alexa and Siri). However, ATC communications present many unique 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 that would be customized for aviation.
“By using a custom-designed deep neural network trained on thousands of hours of speech and hundreds of hours of ATC data that we collected and transcribed, we’ve created a speech recognition system which can run on mobile devices without an Internet connection,” Gelinske explained. “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.”
“This new AI technology is the baseline for exciting features we have in our app roadmap,” Garberg said. “The Appareo Aviation product roadmap is focused on creating a safer, more convenient way to fly. It centers around a beyond-glass strategy, which is the future of aviation.”
Stratus Horizon Pro was designed to work with an iPad’s Split View, as well as the new Multitasking or “slide over” feature, which allows users to work with two apps at the same time. This means pilots can have Stratus Horizon Pro displayed as a small overlay, while continuing to run their favorite EFB. The app can be viewed in day mode, night mode, or HUD mode for those that have a heads up display. The Stratus Audio Cable (available to purchase here) is necessary to enable the audio playback feature. No cellular service or internet connection is required to operate the app. Available only for iOS devices.
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Appareo is a recognized leader in the custom design, development and manufacture of innovative electronic and software solutions for aerospace and agriculture. Through the creative application of cutting-edge technologies, Appareo creates complex end-to-end solutions that include both mobile and cloud-based components. The company is privately held, with world headquarters located in Fargo, N.D., and design offices in Tempe, Ariz. and Paris, France. All Stratus products are designed, developed, built and supported in the USA. The company currently has a network of 540 dealers and was voted 2017 AEA Association Member of the Year.