Air Force Research Lab makes first successful test flight of ROBOpilot able to fly aircraft autonomously

Sept. 9, 2019
The system grabs the aircraft control yoke, pushes on the rudders, controls the throttle, flips switches and reads the dashboard like a human pilot.

DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah – The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and DZYNE Technologies Inc. in Irvine, Calif., completed a two-hour initial flight of a revolutionary robotic pilot unmanned conversion program called ROBOpilot Aug. 9 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. Air Force reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

9 Sept. 2019 -- This project is the vision for The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, DZYNE Technologies. The ROBOpilot interacts with an aircraft the same way as a human pilot would.

For example, the system grabs the aircraft control yoke, pushes on the rudders and brakes, controls the throttle, flips the appropriate switches and reads the dashboard gauges the same way a pilot does.

At the same time, the unmanned system uses sensors like GPS and an inertial measurement unit, for situational awareness and information gathering. A computer analyzes these details to make decisions on how to best control the flight.

Related: U.S. military shifting research and technology development toward armed robotic ground vehicles

Related: Boeing to convert 18 retired F-16 jet fighters into unmanned target drones for advanced pilot training

Related: Common technologies for manned and unmanned aircraft

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!