Todays market-leading EFB software offers a much richer feature set than was available even two years ago. One of the driving factors is improved, faster hardware from the usual suspects in smartphones and tablets-Moores Law in action. Another is ADS-B INs free traffic and weather data, which has helped drive the EFB-app market. A third is increased availability and use of electronic attitude and heading reference systems (AHRS), which leverage the miniaturization and proliferation of related sensors developed for the commercial semi-conductor market. These are the same sensors that have revolutionized the drone or unmanned aerial vehicle market, a whole nuther topic. And developers keep coming up with innovative software.
One example is the virtual co-pilot, EFB capability designed to automate the GA cockpit. Xavion is an example, thanks to its ability to learn an airplanes engine-out glide characteristics and use that data to present a highway in the sky-the magenta hoops in the screengrab at rightto the nearest suitable runway. According to the company, Xavion can run thousands of simulations in an instant and immediately guide you on the safest path to a nearby airport, using winds aloft to fine-tune the power-off guidance. The same app, coupled to a Tru-Trak autopilot, is a star of a viral (for general aviation) video in which the airplane flies itself to the nearest runway in a simulated engine-out emergency. Features like this, plus many more, are coming soon to a gadget near you.