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A remotely-piloted highly-modified Black Hawk helicopter recently flew over the Diablo Range, east of San Jose, California, in the first autonomous flight test of the next generation rotorcraft tech: obstacle field navigation and safe landing area determination.
Although the chopper had Army experimental test pilots Lt. Col. Mike Olmstead and Ott, system operator Dennis Zollo, and Dr. Marc Takahashi on board for safety reasons, the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Aviation and Missile Center successfully demonstrated the aircraft’s terrain sensing, statistical processing, risk assessment, threat avoidance, trajectory generation, and autonomous flight control capabilities.