Teaching a computer to refuel an aeroplane


For a pilot, air-to-air refuelling is one of the most difficult and dangerous procedures to perform. Automating the process would not only eliminate the risk of human error but would also cut down the number of pilot hours required for training.

Jonathan du-Bois, an engineer at Bristol University is currently developing these automated systems using a combination of sensors and control algorithms, not to mention a couple of very large robots. The problem isn’t simple and with automated systems comes issues of feedback delay and latency – things which add new layers of complexity.

Before he can begin though, he needs to hack into the robots’ control system…

This work is funded by Cobham Mission Equipment as part of the ASTRAEA Programme, which seeks to enable the routine use of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) in all classes of airspace without the need for restrictive or specialised conditions of operation. The ASTRAEA programme is co-funded by AOS, BAE Systems, Cobham, EADS Cassidian, QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce, Thales, the Technology Strategy Board, the Welsh Assembly Government and Scottish Enterprise.

This film is part of a project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop the on camera communication skills of engineers across the UK.

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Source: https://cyrrion.com
Read more all post Computer Technology : https://cyrrion.com/computer/
  1. nischaya singh says

    Explained well but background music is too high then the voice so each time when he stops talking i have to reduce my volume as soon as possible and then increase is when he starts speaking again and the process keep going until the end of the video ?

  2. Dhrupad Saha says


  3. Saphal Christan says

    Anyone after Rafale

  4. Banu chander says

    It's very complicated……Why you not provided infront of air craft

  5. Jonny Dickson says

    The refueling drogue baskets are quite primitive in today's technology. Is this program looking to design control fins on the basket so it's position is controlled compared to just flapping around in front of a 100million f35

  6. Tyson james says

    This was done nearly 8 years ago and where is the follow up. why have we not seen this progress

  7. Triple 675 says

    Enough with the automation already.

  8. R A says

    What types of loop for loop while do while loop.

  9. Joshua Green says

    0:30 not the best looking f-16 I've seen

  10. Cody Stone says

    It's hard because you have to keep in position and have just the right speed

  11. Steve Cj says

    And when the enemy hack your computer it'll be back to old school flying

  12. Tim says

    somebody got a goverment grant

  13. getl0st says

    Um, Elon Musk could work this shit out in a week….

  14. Detective says

    Computer autocorrect airplane

  15. Shifttube says

    well this was a waste of money the Americans got refueling fig. out

  16. James Parker says

    you wanna buy jet fuel then the best place for you is belovneft,com we sell at accommodating rate and sell pure gold

  17. Chocken says

    this was 7 years ago…

  18. Utkarsh Kapoor says

    One of the best videos out there, explains everything in brief without making it too technical or difficult for the viewer to understand

  19. Kreton 21 says

    Plane porn yey

  20. PrincessMegan Elsa says

    Very Cool wow!! ???

  21. andy van says

    by the way NASA already tried it with the Canada arm of the space shuttle and the docking of the Apollo space rockets , they used humans and a "joystick" for a very good reason, RESPONSE time and ADAPTABILITY, as things change , our brains are ANALOGUE systems, which can adapt extremely fast and we can make key decisions without relying on a set program, computers can "overload" with data and "freeze" or "crash" in these circumstances!!PS: hope that probe had a condom, or was washed first?, what to call an aeroplane baby???

  22. Slyde InfinitySpinCasts says

    Nice idea hope it went well, there is always using a slat inside the noseconethe flight radar signature to filter range to the tanker and transfer final docking via the comms array or alternatives and pop release emergency seal,all at the push of a sequence button wilma ,hmmm scumcious like no skydiving then.

  23. Flightjunkie4u says

    So- let's pretend I'm a fighter pilot who has been on patrol for 4 hours. I need to "top off" to finish my patrol. I'm ready to refuel, so, I set the computer to refuel. The comuter guides my jet towards the refueling tanker. As I approach, I get the natural buffeting from the tanker. As my plane is about to make contact, a gust throws the refueling "basket" off-point. Would the computer jerk the plane to "catch" the basket? I've seen videos where HUMAN plots back off anf start over. Have these guys taken that into account- or are they still working "in a perfect world"?

  24. Leonard Pakruda says

    It Takes A Team,

  25. Leonard Pakruda says

    This unit can only be used on small aircraft, Do to large large planes exm, B-2, B-1, B-21, C5, C17, the current system not broken so dont try too fix it, keep in mine you must have line of sight, and the amount of Pilot hour's are needed, to stay in the game you miss up in air refueling downing downing both planes thats 465 mill to 750 mill +. thats like sending a battle ship with no crew leave the captin aboard he can run all the systems ya right, biggest waste of money,

  26. Kyle Corbin says

    Hey I went to college for electrical engineering and instrumentation, this is some cool stuff!

  27. Human Personson says

    It's spelled airplanes you British people.

  28. Flytnc says

    Tq for sharing ..kissair here. Possible to have tanker approaching receiver from behind so airliner crew need little training

  29. Mr. Kumar says

    Why we need this

  30. Ben Charlebois says

    Its people like you why the future job of the pilot is uncertain.

  31. ShadowYeeter says

    did they forgotbtheres also Copy and Paste buttons

  32. Rustom Kambata says

    https://youtu.be/qQrVQ-wpUfM is a You tube video of two drones one the leader (Fuel tanker / mother ship) with a drogue (refuelling cone) & the follower (needs refuelling)  the follower has successfully identified the leader & drogue & then docked & refuelled (simulated with some continued drogue connectivity time ) & the entire process was superbly done. The complexity of the computations involved & the degree of applied robotics is certainly not for the layman, but we appreciate your technical explanation &  simulation, however the robotics demo could have been a bit more enhanced & improved to see a bit more realism. I felt it was left dangling in terms of a completion towards the end. May be a sequel…. Thanks all the same.

  33. Nick Dawn says

    Kind of double edged sword, If you automate the process for something that pilots need to constantly practice than the skill will be even harder. This is why I think booms are better than baskets.

  34. Eric Taylor says

    Flying an arrow plane is really tough. Stick to flying airplanes. Unless it's a Piper. Piper makes an Arrow that is pretty good.

  35. gearhead0800 says

    is P.I.D. used to minimize the error?

  36. John Lee says

    my PC always delay when playing GTA 5

  37. Haroun Ben says

    What about the points of reference? huge difference between that lab and outside..

  38. Haroun Ben says

    The way he pronounces "Controller" ??

  39. damsonn says

    But they didn't showed anything regarding implementation of the simulated data in the robots motions. The last part where both robots move the probe and drogue "as one" is just a feature of the robots control units, where local coordinate system of one robot's tool is translated to second robot as a fixed coordinate system, which he then follows (as to stay motionless relative to that coordinate system). At lest KUKA robots have that feature, it is often used for example in welding when one robot holds a detail and the second has a welder as a tool. The local coordinate system is tied to the welding detail, while the trajectory of programmed motion for the second robot (welder) is relative to that coordinate system.

  40. Barry Sabahat says

    That delay almost caused one of the space shuttles to crash.

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