From engines to structure, all aerospace vehicles have a big quantity of data waiting to be acquired, processed and used for health monitoring purposes. Wireless networks aid to reach this data in a simple way.
The health monitoring mission is to check the status of the systems, tracking and processing a set of parameters that contribute to state the current health status of each of these systems in real time. Wireless networks support the health monitoring systems providing data from the remotest point of the vehicle. And they can ensure the transmission of critical data thanks to the use of different communication paths.
There are so many inherent advantages for the use wireless health monitoring: configuration flexibility, adaptability to different vehicles, weight reduction just to mention some. However the main and most awesome advantage is the combination of the wireless with prognostics health monitoring technology. This allows the use of non-accessible parameters to model better the algorithms that predict failures and faults, which means a notable improvement in maintenance and safety. This amazing opportunity is passing unnoticed by the aerospace industry, as they have been so far reticent to apply wireless technologies.
Like other disruptive technologies, there are challenges and risks associated to the use of wireless applications in the aerospace environment. However the expectations and benefits would lead to a strong improvement in the diagnostics capabilities for aerospace systems. The commercial devices and protocols are not totally suitable for the aerospace industry (this is particularly relevant for space industry) due to reliability and operating range. These are obstacles to be saved by the aerospace wireless researchers.
At Clue we are intrigued by these obstacles, which we face motivated by the enormous potential of this technology. We currently have a dedicated team developing our own wireless health monitoring system. Although we are at the beginning of a long road, we are confident to find (together with our partners) proved solutions from the commercial market that can be adapted to the aerospace needs.