Huntsville start-up modernizes airplane tech, could improve safety & efficiency for carriers

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A national business incubator, gBETA, which helps start-up technology businesses, recently came to Huntsville and made several investments in small businesses. Avilution was one of five businesses selected, many of which are tackling big-picture issues across the world.

“Avilution produces software that goes on the computers in airplanes,” said Mark Spencer, the Founder of Avilution.

Each component and process in an airplane tends to operate as an individual computer. Spencer and his team are using software to bring the processes together in a central place.

“If I was carrying around a clock, flashlight, telephone and a calculator, you’d think I was nuts because all those things are on your mobile device now,” said Spencer as he explained what Avilution is doing with their software.

Any adjustment to an airplane is subject to a critical safety review. With that said, when you are dealing with data, the process is tenuous and needs to be perfect. As technology advances, outdated hardware and newer software can create safety and logistical issues. These issues are seen when large airlines are grounded for computer glitches.

Avilution believes they have the solution.

“What really makes your computer, your computer is the software. Yes, there’s a processor, but the processor is just a means for the software to run,” said Andrew Boos, the Director of Engineering & Operations for Avilution.

Avilution says updating cockpits for hobby, commercial and defense airplanes are becoming a competitive business space. The start-up says they are trying to separate themselves by pushing software that can now do what hardware has been doing.

“There’s this concept in technology of crawl, walk, run. It’s easier to start with smaller airplanes. They are easier to experiment with and prove out the concepts. Then move into larger aircraft,” said Spencer.

There is one tricky hurdle for Avilution. Because of safety standards, they have to adapt the software to different types of planes and their unique components.

The technology is currently being used on smaller planes and the military is doing research and development with the software.

With the help of the gBETA businesses accelerator, Avilution has access to mentors and investors to help get the company off the ground. Since launching in 2015, gBETA program alumni have raised $192M+ in capital and created 2,100+ jobs across the U.S. and Canada.

Huntsville business leaders lobbied gBETA to come to town.

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