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Advanced Fault Diagnosis for Safer Flight Guidance and Control

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

The state of practice for aircraft manufacturers to diagnose guidance and control (G&C) faults and obtain full flight envelope protection at all times is to provide high levels of hardware redundancy in order to perform coherency tests and ensure sufficient available control action.

Nowadays this hardware-redundancy-based Fault Detection and Diagnosis (FDD) approach is the standard industrial practice, which also fits into current aircraft certification processes. However, these FDD solutions increase the aircraft's weight and complexity, and thus its manufacturing and maintenance costs. Moreover, its applicability is becoming increasingly problematic when used in conjunction with the many innovative technical solutions being developed by the aeronautical sector to satisfy the 'more affordable, safer, cleaner and quieter' imperatives being demanded by society.

Indeed, these novel 'green and efficient' technical solutions have widened the gap between the FDD scientific methods advocated within the academic community and the technological developments required by the aeronautics industry, creating a de facto 'safety bottleneck', a technological barrier constraining the full realisation of the next generation of air transport systems.

ADDSAFE addresses the fault detection and diagnosis challenges arising from this safety bottleneck.


The overall aim is to research and develop model-based FDD methods for aircraft flight control system faults, predominantly sensor and actuator loss-of-control malfunctions.

The main benefits from a technological and scientific perspective are:

1. Identification of a set of guidelines for FDD design and analysis for aircraft G&C. Joint work between industrial practitioners and academic researchers will provide a consistent set of fault diagnosis requirements and suitable performance evaluation metrics.

2. Improved FDD methods and understanding of their applicability to aircraft FDD. This encompasses the enhancement of the most widespread fundamental fault diagnosis methods, and the development of advanced FDD synthesis and optimal-tuning methods giving increased performance and robust theoretical guarantees.

3. A step towards a verification and validation (V&V) process for aircraft diagnostic systems, by bringing together advanced industrial software assessment tools and state-of-practice flight simulators.

4. A demonstration of the most promising model-based FDD designs on industrial state-of-the-art flight simulation platforms.

From the perspective of the benefits to society, ADDSAFE will:

- improve aircraft safety;

- allow the use of greener technical solutions;

- improve aircraft transport cost and efficiency;

- secure European aircraft leadership.

Description of Work

The project is divided into six work packages (WP).

WP0: Management and dissemination.

WP1: 'Industrial benchmark problem and assessment tools' focuses on defining the benchmark problem and in developing the associated fault diagnosis metrics, guidelines and software assessment tools.

WP2: 'Development of FDD methods and tools' starts in parallel to WP1 and is the main scientific development component of the project. It focuses on enhancing the current model-based FDD methods as well as in researching new methods with stronger theoretical guarantees.

WP3: 'Application to benchmark' is divided into two stages: preliminary design, where the goal is to perform an initial design and assessment, and a detailed design stage, where information from WP4 is used to guide the final design and tuning.

WP4: 'Industrial benchmarking assessment': is where all the developed FDD designs will be benchmarked and the two most promising will be selected for full industrial validation (i.e. up to implementation and testing in Airbus flight simulators).

WP5: 'Integration issues and demonstration', the main purpose of which is to help transfer the developed FDD methods and technologies to the industrial aeronautics sector by means of a technology demonstration on DEIMOS and Airbus simulators, and a study of the potential integration issues.

Expected Results

The results will help achieve the European Vision 2020 safety challenge of an 80% reduction in aircraft accidents as well as making aircraft 'greener'.

The three main scientific and technological benefits that will be achieved in pursuit of ADDSAFE's aim are:

- definition of a set of guidelines for aircraft G&C model-based fault detection and diagnosis.

- improved FDD methods and software tools for aircraft G&C FDD synthesis and analysis.

- the demonstration of a unified software and test-bench V&V process for diagnostic systems.

ADDSAFE safety bottleneck
ADDSAFE safety bottleneck

ADDSAFE benchmark and validation demos
ADDSAFE benchmark and validation demos