AFRL and Dzyne demonstrate OPV concept
The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Dzyne Technologies have completed a two-hour maiden flight of an optionally-piloted concept for manned aircraft dubbed ROBOpilot, during an August test that took place at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, US.
‘This flight test is a testament to AFRL’s ability to rapidly innovate technology from concept to application in a safe build up approach while still maintaining low cost and short timelines,’ Maj Gen William Cooley, AFRL Commander, said.
‘Imagine being able to rapidly and affordably convert a general aviation aircraft, like a Cessna or Piper, into an unmanned aerial vehicle, having it fly a mission autonomously, and then returning it back to its original manned configuration,’ Alok Das, senior scientist with AFRL’s Center for Rapid Innovation, added.
‘All of this is achieved without making permanent modifications to the aircraft.’
The ROBOpilot kit interacts with an aircraft the same way as a human pilot would. The system uses sensors like GPS and an inertial measurement unit for situational awareness and information gathering, then a computer analyses these details to make decisions on how to best control the flight.
ROBOpilot is simple to install, the AFRL says: users remove the pilot’s seat and install a frame in its place, which contains all the equipment necessary to control the aircraft including actuators, electronics, cameras, power systems and a robotic arm.
Over the past year, the AFRL and Dzyne have designed, built and tested ROBOpilot, and engineers demonstrated the initial concept in a RedBird FMX simulator, which is a full motion training device.
ROBOpilot successfully completed simulated autonomous take-offs, mission navigation and landings in both nominal and off-nominal conditions in this Federal Aviation Administration-certified trainer.
The US Navy’s MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler has completed its first test flight.Known as T1, the MQ-25 test aircraft completed the autonomous two-hour flight under ...
The ASTM Remote ID and Tracking standard has been implemented in a demonstration to support the remote identification of drones by law enforcement and citizens ...
Leidos’ Sea Hunter USV has taken part in a demonstration using a new, advanced sensor system, the company announced on 19 September. The demonstration was ...
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions’ Unmanned Systems Division has received a $35 million contract from the US Air Force for Air Force Subscale Aerial Target ...
The Centrik UAS operational management system has been adopted by the UK’s police unmanned systems programme, the Alliance Drone Team. Widely used in civil aviation, ...
The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) trialled a couple of Chinese-manufactured CH-4B MALE UAVs during the Dharma Yudha joint exercise from 9-12 September. This was the ...