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K-MAX autonomy developments leave important question unanswered

14th September 2020 - 12:00 GMT | by Ian Parker in Portsmouth


The potential of using unmanned and autonomous supply aircraft, particularly helicopters, in ‘hot’ areas has great appeal to the military.

The problem is keeping away from hazards and identifying a safe place to land. With support from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Near Earth Autonomy (NEA) and Kaman Aerospace have partnered to develop an intelligent autonomy system (pictured) for the unmanned variant of the K-MAX cargo helicopter.

However, one question remains - selection of a landing site during autorotation after an engine failure. In this situation, a human pilot would lower collective, dump the load and look for a nearby …

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