Commercial

Boeing, Japanese Agency to Test LIDAR for EcoDemonstrator

By S.L. Fuller | August 2, 2017

Plane with a technological electronics circuit.

File photo

Boeing and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are partnering for light detection and ranging (LIDAR), Boeing said. This is part of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator research program.

"Boeing's ecoDemonstrator flight-test programs accelerate innovation that enhances the safety and efficiency of commercial flight," said Doug Christensen, ecoDemonstrator program manager. "We're eager to continue working with JAXA so that we can both learn more about LIDAR technology."

The two companies have been partnering on this subject since 2010 and plan to conduct flight tests with the technology next year. During demonstrations, pulses of laser light will be emitted, scattering dust and other particulates. The pulse would then observe the reflected light in segments, measuring the wind speed at increments along the direction of the laser. Boeing said that JAXA LIDAR technology has the potential to accurately measure winds up to 0.3 miles in front of airplanes.

"The onboard clear-air turbulence detection system to be tested in the program next year was established by JAXA as part of our SafeAvio R&D project on avionics safety technology to prevent turbulence-induced aircraft accidents," said Fumikazu Itoh, director general for JAXA Aeronautical Technology Directorate. "Boeing's ecoDemonstrator program provides us with valuable opportunity to evaluate our system's capability on large commercial aircraft, which will help accelerate practical implementation of our system in a real environment."

Boeing announced in July that it would be partnering with FedEx Express for an installment of the ecoDemonstrator program. The companies plan to test propulsion advancements, new flight deck technologies and other solutions on a FedEx Boeing 777.

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