Thales has filed a patent for a monitoring system designed to detect pilot incapacitation in aircraft. The system includes pressure sensors on the piloting device, a computing unit to process indicators, and issue an alarm if pilot state indicates incapacitation. GlobalData’s report on Thales gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Thales, Drone swarm control was a key innovation area identified from patents. Thales's grant share as of January 2024 was 67%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Aircraft pilot monitoring system for detecting pilot incapacitation

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Thales SA

A newly filed patent (Publication Number: US20240034482A1) describes a system designed to monitor the pilot of an aircraft to detect any potential incapacitation. The system includes at least one pressure detector that generates an elementary indicator based on the pressure exerted by the pilot on the piloting device. This pressure sensor integrates a capacitive pressure sensor and a modeling module to calculate the indicator. A computing unit processes this indicator to determine the pilot's current state and issues an alarm if an incapacitation is detected. The system can also receive flight context information from auxiliary systems on the aircraft to enhance the accuracy of the detection process.

Furthermore, the patent outlines additional features of the system, such as different types of pressure detectors (contact and force), the integration of flight context information into the processing of the indicator, and the use of multiple pressure detectors with an aggregation module to determine the overall pilot state. The computing unit includes an alarm generation module that uses flight context information and the aggregated indicator to decide whether to issue an alarm. The flight context information can include details about the aircraft's flight phase or various flight parameters like height, speed, autopilot engagement status, and control positions. These features collectively aim to improve the system's ability to accurately detect pilot incapacitation and ensure the safety of the aircraft.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.