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 your 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,” said Appareo AI Systems Director Josh Gelinske.
At a global scale, speech recognition, translation, and transcription features are commonplace (e.g. 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 customized 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,” said 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.
“Natural Language Processing is also used to interpret the output of the speech recognition system, to present it in a more pilot-friendly format,” Gelinske explains. “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.”