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Autonomous unmanned helicopter program tested

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posted on Dec, 6 2012 @ 09:56 PM
The Army recently flew the first test of a truly autonomous unmanned helicopter program over California. A UH-60 Blackhawk was flown with pilots on board, but not in control, through the Diablo Range. The flight was the first test of autonomous UAV programming. The helicopter had to avoid obstacles in its path, and safely pick out a landing area at the end of the flight.

The flight lasted two hours, using the RASCAL JUH-60A Blackhawk. It successfully demonstrated terrain sensing, statistical processing, risk assessment, threat avoidance, trajectory generation, and autonomous flight. The helicopter was flown 23 miles of terrain, at 40 knots, without any prior knowledge of the terrain it was over.

At the end of the flight, the computers picked out a landing zone in a forested area, and brought the aircraft to a hover at 60 feet. The final hover was within a foot.

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.
edit on 12/6/2012 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 08:13 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Now you're in my neck of the woods. I'm a UH60M mechanic and crewchief. Its the greatest aircraft put on gods green earth.

And THIS is why I always tell the warrant officers in my unit that I won't be putting in a packet for flight school. The future belongs to autonomous aircraft. Maintainers like me, however, will be around a lot longer. The UH60M can already fly it's own route without a pilot on the cyclic/collective controlling it. It can even even bring you to a precise point and execute a ten foot hover without pilot control.

'Mike' is already a very sophisticated aircraft and advances like this coupled with features purported to be on the stealth H60, and we're talking about serious military air dominance. Not just for SOF but conventional air assault tactics by the US Army as well.

Good thread.

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