Sikorsky, now owned by Lockheed Martin, is set to reveal a remote-controlled Black Hawk helicopter next year that makes use of both autonomy software and high-tech sensors. So far, the prototype has managed to hit 172 miles per hour after 54.5-hours of flight time and will make its first fully autonomous flight in 2020. This helicopter will also offer pilots multiple autonomy modes so they can commit more time toward their mission. Read more for a video of some of the autonomous aircraft Lockheed Martin is working on and additional information.
The first remote-controlled flight took place on May 29th in West Palm Beach, Florida and is now testing rate command attitude hold mode. In the next few months, pilots will test the helicopter at wider ranges and different speeds from the ground. However, we may be years until helicopter pilots are completely replaced, as this is designed to augment them.