Speech Commands In The Cockpit

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Some pilots swear their airplanes talk to them but now a Troy, N.Y., company has developed a system that allows pilots to talk to their airplanes. VoiceFlight Systems says it has received FAA certification for its VFS101 pilot speech recognition and that it's the first such system to get a supplementary type certificate (STC) from the FAA. Inventor Scott Merritt says the patented system allows pilots to accurately enter flight plans, edit them, make corrections and make changes using voice commands. "The VFS101 uses aviation specific recognition technology to address the challenging conditions found in the aircraft cockpit. It is this technology that allows the VFS101 to meet the rigorous performance requirements of FAA certification," Merritt said in a press release.

Merritt says using the system doesn't require any special training and it doesn't have to be trained itself to recognize specific pilot voices. The spoken commands are read back by the system to ensure accuracy and if the system won't do as it's told the pilot can always revert to the old-fashioned twisting of knobs on the GPS. Merritt says the hands-free voice command system is up to 10 times faster than loading a flight plan manually. The news release did not list a price.