Reliable Robotics demonstrates autonomous flight system for USAF

A Reliable Robotics remote pilot monitors an autonomous flight aircraft.
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force Matthew Clouse

Reliable Robotics, a leader in autonomous flight systems, today announced that it has completed a demonstration for the Department of the Air Force’s AFWERX Autonomy Prime branch.

In conjunction with the Air Combat Command branch of the U.S. Air Force’s AGILE FLAG exercise, Reliable demonstrated its autonomous aircraft system for intra-theater military logistics.

The company recently announced the attainment of military airworthiness approval, marking a deeper engagement with the U.S. Air Force Department of Defence.

The Move to Autonomous Flight Systems

The development and refinement of the autonomous flight systems concept has been a key focus by the US military in recent times.

This area of interest has seen collaborative moves towards the testing, development and potential integration of autonomous flight systems on military aircraft, such as the KC-135 Stratotanker.

Reliable Robotics’ autonomous flight system is spearheaded by its innovative “always on” autopilot, a cutting-edge technology that seamlessly manages all aspects of aircraft operation.

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From initial taxi for takeoff to landing, the autonomous flight system includes an “always on” autopilot which handles all phases of aircraft operation including autotaxi, autotakeoff, autoflight and autoland.

A US Air Force staff member looks at flight automation image on screen.
Photo Credit: Reliable Robotics

Military Airworthiness and Autonomy Testing

With the recent attainment of Military Airworthiness at the outset of 2024, Reliable Robotics has positioned itself as a frontrunner in autonomy testing within the military sector.

This pivotal milestone has paved the way for extensive autonomy testing on experimental aircraft, heralding a new era of innovation and advancement in military aviation.

In a recent display of capability, Reliable Robotics demonstrated its autonomy testing capabilities for AGILE FLAG forces, showcasing the agility, speed, and maturity of remotely piloting through a highly portable control center.

Using a portable control station, a flight operation can be directed from 120 miles away. The ability to deploy rapidly and operate autonomously speaks to the potential impact of such technology on military operations.

Photo Credit: Reliable Robotics

FAA-Approved Autonomous Aircraft Certification

Reliable Robotics boasts the most advanced certification program for autonomous flight systems, with the distinction of being the only FAA-approved plan for full aircraft automation.

Designed to enhance aviation safety and mitigate common causes of accidents, such as controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and loss of control in flight (LOC-I), Reliable’s system sets a new standard for safety and reliability in autonomous aviation.

From the Cessna 172 to the Cessna 208B Caravan, and even multi-engine jets like the KC-135 Stratotanker, Reliable’s autonomous flight system has demonstrated its adaptability and versatility across various aircraft platforms.

This adaptability highlights the scalability of Reliable’s technology and its potential to integrate across diverse military applications.

Dr. David O’Brien, Major General (Ret.) and Senior Vice President of Government Solutions at Reliable Robotics, highlights the pivotal role of Reliable’s technology in empowering commanders with increased aviation options and operational flexibility.

“This successful demo underscored two important mission enablers – the ability to deploy Reliable’s control station wherever the Air Force needs, and convert existing aircraft using our aircraft-agnostic autonomous flight system,” said Dr. O’Brien.

In contested environments worldwide, Reliable’s autonomous flight system potentially offers a decisive advantage, enabling commanders to navigate challenges with confidence and precision.

About Reliable Robotics

Reliable Robotics launched in 2017 to bring safe, certified automation systems to commercial aviation. The company’s system enables remote operation of any aircraft type.

Reliable’s vision is to transform the way we move goods and people around the planet with safer, more convenient and more affordable air transportation.

The company is headquartered in Mountain View, CA and has a distributed global workforce.

About AFWERX

As the innovation arm of the Department of the Air Force (DAF) and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFWERX brings cutting-edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF.

 AFWERX employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at six hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4 billion budget.

Since 2019, AFWERX has executed 4,697 contracts worth more than $2.6 billion to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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