Stratus Insight is an electronic flight bag (EFB) suite that includes VFR sectionals, IFR low- and high-altitude charts, georeferenced instrument approach plates, a terrain awareness and warning system, and attitude and heading reference system with synthetic vision. Beyond these typical EFB features, Stratus Insight also provides ATC radio transcription and playback, vertical weather profiles, radar forecasts, and a feature the company calls Smart Flight Plan. The iOS app, for Apple tablets and smartphones, is tightly integrated with all generations of Stratus ADS-B receivers, which provide subscription-free weather, WAAS GPS information, and ADS-B traffic to the app during flight.
“It’s more than an EFB,” said Appareo Aviation President Kris Garberg. “Think of it as a digital co-pilot, to be with you when you fly. One of the most exciting features we developed for it is voice recognition in the cockpit.”
“When we acquired Aerovie we had full intentions to incorporate our radio transcription and playback features, in order to offer customers a flight app that was more than an EFB,” said April Steffan, Appareo’s director of marketing. Stratus Insight has replaced Aerovie in Apple’s App Store. “It did require extensive coding work from our software team to increase the performance of Aerovie features, while also incorporating our speech recognition system and enabling support for all generations of Stratus receivers,” she said.
Stratus Insight’s weather tools are designed to give pilots a deeper understanding of weather for improved preflight planning, the company said in a press release. Weather modeling products such as Radar Forecast and a Vertical Weather Profile tool allow pilots to see conditions across their route of flight based on aircraft speed and departure time. If weather changes force a pilot to take an alternate route, Stratus Insight goes beyond simply listing alternate airports; the Smart Flight Plan tool considers fuel stops and day/night currency. Supplemental attitude information provided by a Stratus receiver essentially creates a backup glass cockpit, with synthetic vision, on the iPad screen.
The app can be paired with a Bluetooth headset or audio panel, or used with a Stratus Audio Cable, to provide pilots with audible terrain alerts, runway information, and other aural messages. The Stratus Audio Cable is required to enable the ATC Radio Transcription feature, which is very similar to visual voicemail—ATC communications are converted into text and displayed in the app, allowing pilots to receive a clearance, ATIS, or other instructions without having to write them down.
The speech recognition and language understanding technology that drives the radio transcription feature was custom designed by Appareo’s artificial intelligence division. Although speech recognition, translation, and transcription have become commonplace, ATC communications present many challenges for common speech recognition systems—from a high rate of speech and noisy signal to unique location identifiers and other terminology, said Appareo AI Systems Director Josh Gelinske. “We began by designing a deep neural network and training it on thousands of hours of speech and hundreds of hours of ATC data,” then designing a custom aviation speech recognition system that can run on mobile devices without support from online services—required by most voice recognition systems.
Stratus Insight can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store. Subscriptions are $9.99 per month or $99.99 for a year, and a 30-day free trial is available. A Stratus Audio Cable ($49.99) is required to use the Radio Transcription and Playback features.