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Unpiloted Military Helicopter Flies 134 km in Simulated Mission

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A Black Hawk helicopter flying autonomously.

The helicopter flew as low as 60 meters above the ground at 185 kilometers per hour between mountains, relying on onboard sensors to avoid crashing into anything.

Credit: Ted Carlson/Sikorsky Aircraft

As part of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's ALIAS program, the U.S. Army flew an autonomous Black Hawk Helicopter at 185 kph (115 mph) as low as 60 meters (197 feet) above the ground for 134 kilometers (83 miles) to deliver 230 kilograms (507 lbs.) of simulated and real blood.

The helicopter flew between mountains using onboard sensors to avoid a collision.

The program is testing Sikorsky Innovations' MATRIX technology, a drop-in kit that can transform helicopters into autonomous aircraft.

Sikorsky's Igor Cherepinsky said, "It's a truly autonomous system. Once you explain what the mission is, you don't even need a data link–the aircraft makes all the decisions."

From New Scientist
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