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NASA Evaluates Pilotless Systems
  • 20 Feb 2024 09:10 AM
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NASA Evaluates Pilotless Systems

On Jan. 25, NASA announced that it had conducted a series of flight tests designed to evaluate the pilotless flight systems expected in future passenger-carrying eVTOL aircraft. The tests, which NASA organized in cooperation with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Sikorsky, occurred in Connecticut in October 2023 and involved helicopters from Sikorsky that served as stand-ins for future air taxi vehicles. Using the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) and a Black Hawk Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) demonstrator, NASA evaluated the responses by different software systems to commands and the ways in which human pilots interacted with autonomous systems. The tests resulted in “12 successful flights covering 70 different flight test maneuvers,” according to NASA, and marked the first time the two autonomous aircraft equipped with NASA’s collision avoidance software were flying at the same time.

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