Honeywell testing voice-recognition solution for pilots

February 19, 2015 - 

Phoenix-based Honeywell Aerospace is currently testing a new voice recognition system at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport to help simplify the flying experience for pilots, according to a report by Tucson.com.

Using Honeywell Aerospace’s technology, pilots are able to give one-word commands to activate the voice recognition-enabled tablet mounted in the middle of the cockpit to initiate the process.

“(I have to) lower my head, and it takes away from looking outside,” said Jim Anderson, a veteran pilot and lecturer in the aviation program at Arizona State University. “Voice recognition is the next step. You can just say it.”

In addition to voice recognition capabilities, the tablet is also touchscreen. Honeywell also plans to include text-to-voice features in the future, Honeywell officials officials said.

Officials at Honeywell Aerospace, which engineers and manufactures technology for the aviation industry, have called the technology a “huge advancement” in the cockpit.

The voice commands allow pilots to skip several steps when commanding the plane – all without having to physically type in the commands.

This reduces the amount of workload, allowing the pilot to concentrate on flying safely and efficiency, officials said.

Honeywell is working closely with pilots to make the technology more practical and user friendly, as well as to identify the best way to use the voice function, said Andy Drexler, Honeywell Aerospace’s director of marketing and product management.

Honeywell designers and engineers have found that both background noise in the cockpit and the pilot’s accents can negatively impact the technology’s accuracy.

The company’s engineers are working to improve the voice-recognition technology’s ability to more accurately decipher accents from non-native English speakers, while the design team is considering developing text-to-speech to boost accuracy.

Drexler said the technology could help eliminate current language barriers between non-native English speakers and air-traffic controllers, along with any misunderstandings that occur as a result of radio static.

Since the device is still in the engineering and research phase, the cost of integrating the new technologies into cockpits is unknown, Drexler said.

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Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.