Video: Amazing Robot-Controlled Flight Simulator

Researchers seek to revolutionize flight training.

We’ve all seen B-roll video footage of robots busily building cars on an assembly line, spinning and whirling with impressive precision and nary a human in sight. But you’ve probably never seen anything like this.

Researchers in Germany have connected a robotic arm to the cockpit section of an airplane to create perhaps the world’s most realistic flight simulator. Designed by aeronautics firm DLR, the simulator uses a large mechanical arm built by KUKA, a pioneer in robotics and automation technology, to swing a Diamond DA40/42 around a virtual sky and runways and taxiways.

From the outside it looks like just a large industrial robotic arm with a cockpit, but to the pilot inside the simulator, it feels like a real aircraft. And designers think they are getting close to offering a version of the technology for the simulator market that could herald a revolution in flight training.

It is the first robot-based flight simulator in the world, and DLR says it will one day be used for training pilots all around the globe. The DLR researchers, along with partners Grenzebach Maschinenbau and KUKA, have been awarded the euRobotics Technology Transfer Award for the design. The prize is given annually to projects that combine research findings with commercial applications.

The engineers have conducted numerous acceleration tests and worked on tricky flight path algorithims all to create the perfect illusion of flying. Check out this early test video to see what the future of flight training may hold in store.

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