The Foresight Advantage – Updatability and System Maturation

July 14 2020

The Foresight Advantage – Updatability and System Maturation

Note: This blog post, written by Cofounder and Chief Engineer Dr Eric Bechhoefer, is the first in a series on Foresight’s system advantages cataloged on the How We Compare page of our site.

One of the fundamental problems with ‘Generation 1’ HUMS offerings was their inability to mature and improve. I saw firsthand how early system limitations and problems lingered and how the technology failed to grow over time.

When we started GPMS, we were determined to ensure that the Foresight HUMS would be easily updatable, or “futureproof” as our marketing guys like to say.

We did this through a combination of edge-to-cloud system architecture and automated connectivity. Let me explain.

First, we have software (or firmware) at the sensor, onboard control unit, and cloud levels. That means we can address issues, improve functionality, or add new features through changes to the onboard system, the configuration, and the core application in the cloud.

Second, we instituted what I call automated connectivity for easy updates at any level. We can obviously access and change the cloud software anytime. But in our architecture, when the aircraft lands the onboard system automatically connects via WiFi or cellular and we can update the onboard system and configuration too.

Contrast this with older systems (which lacked automated connectivity and used a local software model) for a minute. Let’s say you needed to update sensor firmware to improve bearing fault detection. You would have to send a tech to the aircraft to manually update the system! Or imagine the software team wanted to develop a new module. Assuming they weren’t using a software upgrade business model (which most did), this addition would depend on user connectivity and action.

This new architecture is particularly powerful when paired (as we have done) with a ‘HUMS-as-a-Service’ (or Software-as-a-Service) pricing model where the principal payment, after setup, is in the monthly subscription charge. In this model, GPMS is incented to improve the system to retain its customers. We can’t sell you a box that degrades over time. We need to continually develop the system to ensure ongoing value.

In our case, lets look at the additions and improvements we’ve developed for customers AFTER initial system delivery. And note that all these done with configuration updates (no hardware modifications):

+ Hydraulic Pump monitoring
+ Oil cooler fan spline monitoring
+ Oil cooler fan balance
+ Swashplate analysis
+ Maintenance notes addition
+ Cycle counting
+ All aircraft comparison
+ Alert log
+ Onboard system firmware display

And what’s in the queue? Among others:

+ Estimated wind speed and magnitude
+ Estimated vehicle weight
+ Selectable optical tracker (EUTD and RPX) for rotor track and balance

As you can see, we are expanding Foresight to include functionality that exists and many single-purpose, standalone devices.

What are we missing? Please get in touch to let us know what tools you would like to see on the Foresight roadmap.