Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

When American Eagle flight 4184 crashed near Roselawn, IN, in 1994, having accumulated a fatal amount of ice on its wings, aeronautics engineer Michael Bragg set out to make sure such accidents didn’t happen again. Bragg and his team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have since developed a smart icing system that does more than just alert the pilot when ice accumulates on the plane, as current instruments do. Sensors characterize how the ice buildup on the wings or tail is affecting the plane’s aerodynamics. If onboard heaters can’t melt away all the ice, Bragg’s system will tell the pilot how to compensate to maintain control and stability. The system consists of neural-network-based software that collects information from the sensors and translates the data into particular actions. Eventually, Bragg says, the technology will be able to automatically adjust the plane’s speed or wing-flap position. Bragg’s team recently conducted computer simulations and is preparing to flight test the system this winter.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Communications

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me