Appareo has released Stratus Horizon Pro, a free iOS application that displays a backup Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS), delivers firmware updates to Stratus receivers, offers ATC Radio Playback, and will soon include Radio Transcription.
Stratus Horizon Pro displays supplemental attitude information driven by a Stratus receiver — essentially creating a “backup glass cockpit” on your iPad, according to company officials.
The AHRS feature aligns itself automatically, so pilots can just turn it on and fly, company officials note.
“Pilots will experience a very responsive pitch and bank instrument within the app, which becomes an excellent backup for emergency situations,” company officials said in a prepared release.
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,” company officials said.
“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, company officials explain.
“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, Appareo officials note.
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, company officials said.
“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.”
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, company officials explain.
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 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.
Stratus Horizon Pro is available for free download from the App Store.