The COVID-19 Permafrost Has Officially Thawed

The simplest way I have found to describe what happened in the aviation industry post-pandemic to non-avgeek friends and family is that the COVID-19 permafrost suddenly began to unfreeze in 2021, propelling us into an unprecedented ramp-up in terms of our supply chain, aircraft deliveries, resourcing needs, research and so on. It was as if almost from one day to the next, we went from operating on permafrost to almost completely thawed ground, which required shifting multiple gears at once and firing up all the engines to avoid getting our landing gear stuck in any sogginess, so to speak!

As an aerospace research and innovation center, that meant growing our workforce as well as our in-house capacity to both deliver and explore. At Acubed, we’ve been on a steady post-pandemic growth path for the last year and a half, which has given us a new lease on life as well as new challenges to ponder, such as how to balance delivering on our commitments while exploring new areas, or what the hybrid work experience should look like in this new, brave world.

Let’s face it: at a time when the aviation industry as a whole needs to quickly figure out how to deliver unprecedented amounts of aircraft while simultaneously preparing its future, it doesn’t cut it to simply develop interesting proof of concepts or prototypes. The good news for us is that here in Silicon Valley, it’s imprinted in our collective DNA how to take an idea from paper to product in record time, so delivering valuable, usable innovations is no foreign concept to us! At Acubed, we thrive on delivering solutions that bring about a 10X impact, either on existing business challenges and opportunities, or future ones.

In 2022, we made significant strides in our autonomous aircraft systems efforts, expanding our local data collection flight test campaign to over 40 airports and building out our data processing pipeline to scale. We’ll see a lot more scaling and airport expansion in 2023, so watch this space. We’re also having a blast working hand-in-hand with our colleagues on the other side of the pond in Airbus as we work to mature these systems, in the name of increased safety and operational efficiencies.

This year, we also found novel ways to turn our digital airspace research into a viable simulation-as-a-service product that’s already piqued the interest of entities like EUROCONTROL. Coined USim, this product will help organizations rethink and re-design the airspace, especially in light of U-space regulations coming online in Europe early 2023.

As we work diligently on digitizing future aviation platforms and the airspace they will share, we certainly haven’t forgotten about how we can also make a lasting impact on aircraft design and manufacturing. Our industrial solutions team has developed - and continues to develop - a host of software solutions and capabilities that are making engineers and shop floor workers’ jobs much more automated, digital and efficient, alleviating annoying manual work, cutting out approximative guesswork and speeding up decision-making.

Finally, we’ve been absolutely stoked to roll up our sleeves and accelerate aviation-related quantum research. This year, we launched two new partnerships with startups to make near-term headway in this promising area. In 2023, we’ll take advantage of our own flight test lab and daily scheduled flights to test out some of the solutions—and keep on learning.

Yes, the COVID-19 permafrost has officially thawed, and we’re elated to cast away those Wellingtons and kick off additional explorations in 2023. If you are as excited as we are, and ready to make an impact, please check out our open positions and apply now. Here’s to leaving the permafrost permanently behind us—Happy New Year!

- Paige Stanton Wilson