Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) announced a new partnership with Toulouse-based electronic wiring interconnection system (EWIS) supplier Latécoère Interconnection Systems to develop the aircraft manufacturer’s first Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) in-flight entertainment (IFE) monitor on the first day of the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition’s (EBACE) 2021 online forum.
According to a May 17 press release, the two companies are developing the next generation “ACJ Smart Li-Fi Monitor,” with the goal of having it certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) before the end of the year. The monitor will usher in a new generation of cabin IFE technology for the business jet division of Airbus, as it will also feature Bluetooth, casting, mirroring, videoconferencing, and Wi-Fi all embedded inside a single screen without the need for an associated computing box or server.
Latécoère Interconnection Systems, the EWIS division of parent company Latécoère group, has been gradually expanding tripling and testing of smart LiFI monitor technology for air transport jets in recent years, starting with its demonstration of a Li-FI IFE cabin mockup at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Shortly after that demonstration, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Netherlands-based lighting supplier Signify and South Korean aerospace and defense manufacturer Hunted Technologies for the supply of Li-Fi data communications electronics and software.
Now, the Airbus partnership gives Latécoère a new line-fit deal across every Airbus corporate jet type, with the exception of the new ACJ Two Twenty. The newest business jet version of tLatécoère Airbus A220 will be approved for the new technology at a later date, Benoit Defforge, president of Airbus Corporate Jets, told Avionics International in an emailed statement.
“Li-Fi stands for Light Fidelity and it is a wireless communication device which uses light to transmit data in a safe, cyber-secure, and agile way,” Defforge said.
Light from specialized LED bulbs serves as the data transmission medium for a Li-Fi system in the same way radios, modems and antennas transmit data in Wi-Fi systems, according to Latécoère’s description of the technology.
“We did implement it on our Smart Li-Fi Monitor to be ready for the next generation of communication systems. As an integrated module, the Li-Fi equipment/module draws its power directly from the Smart LiFi Monitor. As it is a low power device, it does not need any specific power line coming from the aircraft,” Defforge said.
Defforge said the Li-Fi IFE system will be a single monitor replacement as an upgrade on the existing family of Airbus corporate jets.
“All in all, the only IFEC element that needs to be replaced, in order to enable this upgrade, is the monitor currently installed in the cabin,” Defforge said. “It is an all-in-one equipment ready-to-use and integrates an intuitive, easy to use and fully customizable interface, a real 4K display and unique smart functionalities like: multiple connectivity devices, powerful processing, and a 2 Tb storage capacity. The Smart Li-Fi Monitor is an easy plug-and-play equipment that fits with all the existing IFEC solutions with no necessary removal.”
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