Military Embedded Systems

Aurora demos automated flight capabilities for DARPA's ALIAS program


October 19, 2016

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Aurora demos automated flight capabilities for DARPA's ALIAS program
Photo by Aurora Flight Sciences

MANASSAS, Va. Engineers at Aurora Flight Sciences demonstrated automated flight capabilities under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency?s (DARPA) Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program. During the demonstration, engineers flew a Cessna Caravan through basic maneuvers under the supervision of a pilot.

ALIAS utilizes a robotic system that functions as a second pilot in a two-crew aircraft, enabling reduced crew operations. In the first phase of the program, Aurora developed an automated system that was tested on a simulator and in-flight on a Diamond DA-42 aircraft. Under Phase II, engineers demonstrated the adaptability of ALIAS by installing it into the Cessna Caravan.

“Demonstrating our automation system on the UH-1 and the Caravan will prove the viability of our system for both military and commercial applications,” says John Wissler, Aurora’s Vice President of Research andDevelopment. “ALIAS enables the pilot to turn over core flight functions and direct their attention to non-flight related issues such as adverse weather, potential threats or even updating logistical plans.”

Aurora’s solution include the use of in-cockpit machine vision, non-invasive robotic components to actuate the flight controls, tablet-based user interface, speech recognition and synthesis. Officials say, they are working on installing the ALIAS system onto a Bell UH-1 helicopter.

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