Areas of Expertise (8)
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
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.
Sole Inventor, Patent
99308976.2-2212 “Interrupt Management System”
00308361.5-2212 “System for communicating with an integrated circuit”
00308376.5-2212 “Data Shift Register”
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
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.
Greener planes of the future... or just pretty plans?
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".
The US Air Force is turning old F-16s into pilotless AI-powered fighters
Wired UK online
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.”
Man beats AI drone in first race of its kind
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.
Physics explains why you can never open a plane door mid-flight
Wired UK online
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.”
The race to build a flying electric taxi
"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.
Aeroflot crash: how planes are protected from lightning strikes
Wired UK online
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.
Self-flying air taxi lifts off in New Zealand
"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.
Technology and risk considerations in shaping future drone legislationInternational 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.
Ethical and safety implications of the growing use of civilian droneUK 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”.
Making a brick fly – a novel UAV airframe for survey applicationsCommercial 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.
Airborne artificial intelligence in the wildCommercial 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.
The influence of valve-pump weight ratios on the dynamic response of leaking valve-pump parallel control hydraulic systemsApplied 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.