Tue, Jun 30, 2009
Cessna 337 Was "Optionally Piloted" Testbed
Aurora Flight Sciences announced
Monday that it has successfully demonstrated fully autonomous
takeoffs and landings (ATOL) on a General Aviation aircraft.
The tests have been underway since March using a company-owned
Cessna 337 configured as an "optionally piloted" aircraft testbed.
The aircraft is known as "Chiron."
The flights have been conducted under the FAA Experimental
category and took place near Aurora's headquarters in Manassas,
Virginia. A safety pilot and a test engineer were onboard the
aircraft at all times. The Chiron test configuration allows for
seamless transition between piloted and autonomous flight, allowing
the testing of multiple configurations per sortie while ensuring
safe operations. The pilot retains the ability to take control or
transition back to manual control at any time.
"The successful Chiron ATOL testing marks a major step forward
for Aurora's unmanned technology," said Rob Searle, the chief
engineer for the program. "While Aurora has routinely operated
vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft in a fully
autonomous mode, this marks the first time we have performed fully
autonomous takeoffs and landings in a conventional takeoff and
landing (CTOL) configuration."
Most current UAVs, such as the Predator, have a pilot "in the
loop" for takeoff and landing. Department of Defense studies have
identified this approach as a major source of UAV accidents and
The technology will be incorporated in several upcoming Aurora
programs, most notably a high-altitude, long-endurance technology
demonstrator known as Orion.
Also: AUVSI XPO17 LIVE!, Steady Drone Sales, Drone v Shotgun... DJI’s new Phantom 4 Advanced offers a more powerful camera and more upgraded controls. The new upgrades the or>[...]
Also: State Pavilions at XPONENTIAL, MQ-8C Fire Scout, Puma UAS, Drone Bust Drones DO wind up in some of the most amazing places... As evidence by the Universities of Bristol and C>[...]
Also: Drone Power, Jerkwater Drone Regs, CBP, Wichita UAS Mtg, Cessna Accident, Co-Pilot SNAFU, Atlas Air-Polar Air Gulfstream’s super mid-size G280 recently completed two mi>[...]
Some Aggressive Upgrades For ANN, Aero-TV, and Airborne May Require New Digs It's been in development for years, but we're getting to a point where we think we can pull off somethi>[...]
"We understand that the hearing will be 8 days before the Planes of Fame Air Show and we want to assure you that your overwhelming support throughout this situation has strengthene>[...]