Lockheed Martin Autonomous Black Hawk Helicopter
While DARPA’s Liberty Lifter seaplane can be used to transport large payloads, Lockheed Martin’s autonomous Black Hawk helicopter can be piloted without actual pilots. This is made possible with ALIAS (Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System) technology, which begins executing a 30-minute mission to demonstrate its ability to adapt to a variety of mission environments.

With ALIAS activated, the Black Hawk is capable of navigating at typical speed and altitude through a simulated cityscape and even avoid imagined buildings while route re-planning in real-time. An on-board sensor simulation provides real-time obstacle data, which enables the helicopter to autonomously executes a series of pedal turns, maneuvers and straightaways before completing a perfect landing.

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This capability will allow pilots to confidently switch back and forth between autonomy and piloted modes at any point of their mission with the literal flip of a switch. This will support autonomous flight during a wide range of missions such as flight in degraded visual environments (DVE) and confined areas. Most critically, ALIAS will be capable of automatically detecting and preventing dangerous situations that lead to accidents, thereby saving lives,” said Benjamin Williamson, lead test pilot for the Fort Campbell event.

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