Avionics News June 2020 - 23

shortfall in the existing technology and set out to
More Cowbell
develop a speech recognition system customized for
When embarking on this article, we had a simple
aviation," the company said in a statement announcing
question for Appareo: Why does the company think
the app. Recognizing the challenges, Stratus Insight's
the world needs a new EFB app? Beyond the ATC
ATC Radio Transcription and Playback capability was
transcription capability, what does Stratus Insight bring
custom-designed by the Artificial Intelligence division at
to the table that other mainstream EFB apps don't?
Appareo.
April Steffan, Appareo's marketing director, had a great
"We are focused on developing machine learning
answer.
technology to reduce workload and
"After introducing the
increase safety in the cockpit," said
first Stratus receiver in 2012,
Josh Gelinske, Appareo AI systems
we've continued expanding
director. "We began by designing
the hardware features and
a deep neural network and training
capabilities of Stratus receivers
it on thousands of hours of speech
and transponders," she said.
and hundreds of hours of ATC
"However, we were always
data." Appareo then designed a
reliant on third-party apps to
custom aviation speech recognition
interface with our hardware.
system that was able to run on
So, we decided it was time to
mobile devices without requiring
offer pilots a complete solution
cellular service or an internet
of tightly integrated hardware
connection, so there would be no
and software." And it appears
accessibility limitations during
they've succeeded.
flight. As Gelinske explained,
Appareo is pricing Stratus
"Natural language processing is
Insight at $99.99 per year, or
also used to interpret the output of
$9.99 a month, undercutting
the speech recognition system, to
some of the competition by at
present it in a more pilot-friendly
least $50 annually. To access
format. For example, tail numbers,
the ATC Radio Transcription
altitudes, runways, and frequencies
and Playback feature, the
are transcribed in a way that will
aforementioned patch cable is
be more helpful to pilots."
required, a one-time purchase
Stratus Insight's transcription
Helpful to pilots how?
feature on iPhone
priced at $50, so some of that
According to Appareo, the system
price advantage is erased. On
recognizes phrases like "one zero ten thousand" and
the other hand, we're not aware of any EFB offering
converts that to "10,000." Another example "hears"
an ATC-to-text feature, at any price. In addition to its
"November two two eight four Quebec" and presents
own portable ADS-B In receivers, Appareo said Stratus
it to the pilot as "N2284Q." As someone who's missed
Insight will work with other portable and installed
his share of radio calls over the years, a feature like this
sources. Check the stratusinsight.app website for an
may save a lot of back-and-forth with ATC, potential
updated list.
FAA enforcement actions and possible embarrassment.
As the FAA's definition implies, situational awareness
In addition to Gelinske's description of the feature and
always needs enhancing; it constantly needs more
some of the challenges Appareo met developing it, "this
cowbell, if you will. Many technologies are foundational
new AI technology is the baseline for exciting features
to companies seeking to develop EFB apps and enhance
we have in our app road map, which is focused on
situational awareness, while competing on features and
creating a safer, more convenient way to fly," Garberg
price points. And now there are both some additional
explained.
technologies, and new competition. q
avionics news

*

june

2020

23



Avionics News June 2020

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