hero image
Dr Steve Wright - University Alliance. Bristol, England, GB

Dr Steve Wright Dr Steve Wright

Senior Research Fellow in Avionics and Aircraft Systems | UWE Bristol

Bristol, England, UNITED KINGDOM

He has worked in the aerospace industry for 25 years and now studies drones, electric vertical take-off and more.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Flight Safety

Avionics

Aerospace

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Drones

Aircraft

Flying Taxis

Aircraft Technology

Multimedia Appearances

Publications:

Documents:

Photos:

Videos:

MAAXX Europe - promo video MAAXX Europe Drone Air Race 2017

Audio:

Social

Biography

Dr Steve Wright is Senior Research Fellow in Avionics and Aircraft Systems in the Department of Engineering Design and Maths at UWE Bristol. He has worked in the aerospace industry for 25 years and now studies drones, electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) or ‘flying taxis’, unmanned aerial vehicles, and aircraft engineering.

During his industrial career, he contributed to the design and then development of avionics (the computers that control all modern aircraft) for a variety of Airbus and Boeing airliners. His doctorate investigated the application of mathematical proofs to computing machines. Since joining academia, he has been part of the current revolution in aviation enabled by electrical power and miniaturised computers, focusing on the development of novel airframes and systems for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (or drones). He heads a group of engineers creating UAVs for variety of projects, for applications ranging from renewable energy to defence and security. He has given commentary and spoken on his subjects of expertise to television, radio, and online news channels, discussing airliner safety, defence of airports from rogue drones, and flying taxis.

Accomplishments (3)

Sole Inventor, Patent

99308976.2-2212 “Interrupt Management System”

Co-inventor, Patent

00308361.5-2212 “System for communicating with an integrated circuit”

Co-inventor, Patent

00308376.5-2212 “Data Shift Register”

Education (2)

University of Bristol: Ph.D., Computer Science 2009

University of Birmingham: B.Eng., Electrical and Electronic Engineering 1989

Media Mentions (8)

Pizza Hut Hopes Drop Zones Can Help Bring Drone Delivery to Fruition

The Wall Street Jounral  online

2021-01-18

The batteries of earlier commercial drones were too weak to carry food or other items substantial distances multiple times, and the technology was previously too expensive to make airborne deliveries commercially viable, said Stephen Wright, a senior research fellow in aerospace engineering at the University of the West of England.

view more

Greener planes of the future... or just pretty plans?

BBC  online

2021-01-08

But with the basic layout of commercial aircraft having gone unchanged for decades, there are other practical issues to consider - some of which avionics expert Steve Wright of the University of the West of England describes as "showstoppers".

view more

The US Air Force is turning old F-16s into pilotless AI-powered fighters

Wired UK  online

2020-06-27

The original F-16, which came into service in the 1970s, was one of the first aircraft to have an on-board computer to help the pilot. Today, fighter jets are so sensitive and powerful that it’s essentially impossible for them to be flown without some sort of computer assistance, according to Steve Wright, an associate professor in aerospace engineering at the University of the West of England. “The pilot is now performing guidance and navigation,” he says. “The control system has been replaced already.”

view more

Man beats AI drone in first race of its kind

BBC  online

2019-12-10

Dr Steve Wright, senior research fellow in avionics and aircraft systems, at University of the West of England told BBC News: "Ten years ago if you needed a processor that could solve those sort of problems - how to fly a drone through a course - it would have been the size of a dinner plate and would have guzzled energy and got so hot you could fry an egg on it.

view more

Physics explains why you can never open a plane door mid-flight

Wired UK  online

2019-12-04

There are two lines of defence at play here. The first is, as you might expect, that the doors are mechanically locked. These locks are controlled by the pilot. “You see that great big handle on the door – that's actually locked shut,” says Steve Wright, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of the West of England. ”When the plane touches down and is taxing to the gate, you’ll hear the pilot say “doors to manual”. It's only at that point where the pilot has handed off control, and where those doors are actually capable of being opened by someone standing near them.”

view more

The race to build a flying electric taxi

BBC  online

2019-10-22

"We don't need great big gear boxes and things like that," says Steve Wright, an avionics expert, at the University of the West of England. Several aircraft designs have multiple motors, so they can fly even if one motor fails.

view more

Aeroflot crash: how planes are protected from lightning strikes

Wired UK  online

2019-05-08

In the same way, a lightning strike can – in theory – cause a glitch in a plane’s electronic systems. But lightning is an expected occurrence: planes are designed under the assumption that they will be struck a few times in their career, says Steve Wright, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of the West of England. In fact, aircraft engineers at the likes of Boeing or Airbus actually go looking for lightning during testing.

view more

Self-flying air taxi lifts off in New Zealand

BBC  online

2018-03-13

"Vertical take-off and then changing to winged-flight is quite a feat of engineering," said Steve Wright, associate professor in aerospace engineering at the University of the West of England.

view more

Articles (5)

Technology and risk considerations in shaping future drone legislation

International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management

2020 The global aviation industry has decades-old and highly successful legislation enforcing safety in conventional manned aerospace. This framework has been evolved gradually around a set of mature technologies with particular goals and implementations, and legislators are now struggling to integrate the profoundly different implications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology into this regulatory environment.

view more

Ethical and safety implications of the growing use of civilian drone

UK Parliament Website (Science and Technology Committee)

2020 This document responds to a request for evidence made by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on March 7th, 2019, seeking to inform an inquiry into the “ethical and safety implications of the growing use of civilian drones, of all sizes, across the UK”.

view more

Making a brick fly – a novel UAV airframe for survey applications

Commercial UAV Show 2019

2019 In this talk, Steve Wright presents the development and test of a novel UAV for the placement and subsequent retrieval of monitoring equipment in remote brownfield locations, for application in monitoring of threatened wildlife in insecure areas.

view more

Airborne artificial intelligence in the wild

Commercial UAV Show 2018

2018 MAVs, UAVs, Drones, Quads, call them what you will. A set of technologies has converged to cause a breakthrough in capability and cost, which has created a new industry and colossal interest from many parties who see both opportunities and threats.

view more

The influence of valve-pump weight ratios on the dynamic response of leaking valve-pump parallel control hydraulic systems

Applied Sciences (Switzerland)

2018 A new leaking valve-pump parallel control (LVPC) oil hydraulic system is proposed to improve the performance of dynamic response of present variable speed pump control (VSPC) system, which is an oil hydraulic control system with saving energy.

view more