The United States Air Force has awarded Reliable Robotics a contract to explore and study the possibility of automating large, multi-engine transport jets.
The new study will include a feasibility assessment of both limited and complete aircraft automation capabilities for cargo aircraft and missions. Remotely piloted aircraft will enable the Air Force to increase mission tempo worldwide and leverage a certifiable commercial solution for defense industry needs at fractional costs and extend aircraft capabilities.
“We are interested in Reliable Robotics not only for their effectiveness in supporting the warfighter in Contested Logistics but also for their novel approach of outfitting legacy aircraft with cutting-edge automation kits,” said Col. Sean R. McClune, of the United States Air Force. “This is of great value to the U.S. Government because it will help solve the demand for short to medium-range point-to-point logistics without the need to manufacture new aircraft, which will ensure critical logistics are available at speed and scale to all regions of the country.”
The U.S.-based company is developing a certifiable safety-enhancing aircraft automation system that enables continuous autopilot engagement through air phases or flight, including taxi takeoff and landing, with a remote pilot supervising operations. Higher precision navigation, sophisticated flight planning capabilities, and more robust flight controls better manage aircraft and environmental conditions and improve safety with or without onboard crew.
Once certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Reliable’s system will reduce the occurrence of common causes of fatal aviation accidents, such as controlled flight into terrain and loss of control.
“We value the Air Force as an essential mission partner,” said Dr. David O’Brien, Major General (Ret.) and Senior Vice President of Government Solutions at Reliable Robotics. “Our vision is to provide the remote piloting capability to a wide variety of aircraft. This contract furthers our focus on automation of large, multi-engine jet aircraft, which is an important step in our developmental roadmap.”