Press Release

Humanoid robot “Vodochoid” is a new addition to the Aero pilot team

Vodochody, April 1, 2024 – Piloting an aircraft using artificial intelligence embedded in the body of a humanoid robot? Traditional Czech manufacturer Aero has made a world breakthrough in the field of AI and advanced robotics. A humanoid robot named “Vodochoid” has been placed as an experimental co-pilot in an L-39NG trainer aircraft. He can strap himself in the cockpit, wears classic pilot goggles in the hangar, and his favorite movies include Heavenly Horsemen and Top Gun. He will then undergo certification for an aerobatic performance at 10.30am on Monday 1 April 2024 at the Vodochod Airport.

The Czech manufacturer is air-testing an AI-equipped humanoid pilot who is able to fully act as co-pilot for the crew of an L-39NG trainer jet. This is the result of more than 10 years of collaboration between the design department and the artificial intelligence laboratory, which was opened in Vodochody in 2014 as a parallel part of the L-39NG development project.

Vodochoid (the name was created by combining the words Vodochody and Android) has standard humanoid dimensions, is 170 cm tall and weighs about 68 kg. His authentic gait resembles as closely as possible the typical gait of factory pilots, including typical gestures and gestures. In a special test, called the AI Humanoid Pilot Test, he was able to mimic a factory pilot about 83% of the time, which is an absolutely great result considering that this is only the first generation of humanoid robots developed at Aero. The humanoid from Aero can track 3D space at an above-average rate (compared to the best humanoids in the world) of 12 images per second, but it can also make coffee and prepare an omelette, including cracking eggs, carry a load of about 30kg and develop a speed of up to 7.5 kilometres per hour. The Vodochod machine learns large-scale language models directly from data based on the behaviour and actions of the pilots themselves. Aero is celebrating its 105th anniversary this year, so the database and archive of pilot data is really extensive.

The advanced Vodochoid battery, composed of a brand new solid electrolyte compound, can keep the robot running for up to 72 hours. When engaged in flight operations, it has a capacity of about 45 flight hours. The Vodochoid can pilot the aircraft, communicate with the control tower, evaluate individual flight situations and decide on its next course of action. Compared to a conventional autopilot or other autonomous system, it can perform a pre-flight check, get into the cockpit by itself and strap itself in, demonstrating the precision motor and haptics that have been a key focus from the start of development. Aero’s humanoid is involved in the company’s day-to-day operations in a similar way to its human counterparts on the factory pilot team. He regularly attends operational meetings with designers and mechanics, partners with human pilots in physical training in the gym or visits the factory canteen with other pilots.

Aero plans to add five more Vodochoid humanoids to its team of factory pilots by 2030. In the future, the Czech aircraft manufacturer plans to offer its robots as part of a comprehensive training system that it supplies to its customers as part of the L-39NG package.

AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. focuses on the development, production, maintenance and modernisation of military and civil aircraft and is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aircraft manufacturers in the world. In the field of its own aircraft, Aero is a permanent partner of a number of military air forces and has a strong position in the market for military trainer and light combat aircraft. With 11,000 aircraft produced in its 100 years of existence, hundreds of L-39 Albatros aircraft still in service with dozens of military operators and a number of demo teams, and especially with its new L-39NG aircraft, Aero has established itself as a leader in the global jet trainer market. In the civil aviation sector, Aero works with major aircraft manufacturers on a wide range of projects and is a partner in several risk-sharing programs, where it is responsible not only for the manufacture and assembly of aircraft assemblies, but also for their development.

Radka Černá, PR & Communications Manager
e-mail: radka.cerna@aero
mobil: +420 608 974 258

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