Garmin Autoland Wins Robert J. Collier Trophy
Garmin Autoland has been awarded the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy for the world's first certified autonomous system designed to activate during an emergency to safely fly and land an aircraft without human intervention.
The Collier Trophy has been the benchmark of aerospace achievement for over a century and is awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) to recognize "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America with respect to improving performance, efficiency, safety in air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year." The seven nominees for 2020 included the Bell V-280 Valor, SpaceX Falcon 9 & Dragon 2, among others.
"The Garmin Autoland system marks a significant improvement in civil aviation," affirmed NAA Chairman Jim Albaugh. "Its ability to take over an airplane with a disabled pilot and land it safely will save many lives in the future. It's a remarkable technical achievement and clearly merits the Collier Trophy."
"Autoland began as a simple exploration to develop automation technology for general aviation aircraft," said Cliff Pemble, Garmin President and CEO. "This exploration resulted in the first automated system that can safely fly and land in an emergency without human intervention. it is a tremendous honor for Autoland to be recognized as one of the greatest achievements in aviation history. We owe this accomplishment to the many Garmin associates who dedicated themselves to creating this game-changing aviation safety technology."
Part of the Garmin Autonomi family of autonomous safety-enhancing technologies, Autoland is the world's first certified system of its kind. In the event of an emergency, such as pilot incapacitation, a passenger can activate Autoland with a simple press of a dedicated button, should the pilot no longer be able to perform their duties as pilot in command. Autoland can also activate automatically if the system detects no pilot interaction. Once activated, the system immediately calculates a flight path to the most suitable airport and runway, while avoiding terrain and adverse weather, initiates a stabilized approach and automatically lands the aircraft.
In 2020, three aircraft received Type Certification with Garmin Autoland. Piper Aircraft received the first FAA Type Certification of Garmin Autoland on the M600 SLS in May 2020. In July 2020, Daher completed the first European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification and the second FAA certification of Autoland on the TBM 940. Cirrus Aircraft's Vision Jet, the 2017 Collier Trophy winner, was the first jet aircraft certified with Autoland in August 2020.