Sikorsky Aircraft’s Matrix Technology autonomy research program has progressed to the second phase of flight test activities with the installation of advanced sensors that will allow the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) to conduct real-time perception work.
SARA. Photo courtesy of Sikorsky Aircraft
SARA – an S-76 commercial helicopter outfitted with fly-by-wire controls – will be able to demonstrate autonomic site-selection and landing with this new sensor equipment. This is a key objective of the program as it proceeds toward higher levels of enhanced autonomy to include optionally piloted and fully dedicated autonomous vehicles. As a flying test lab, SARA will enable rapid flight testing of software and hardware, including multi-spectral sensors, previously integrated in the systems integration labs at Sikorsky’s headquarters. When not in flight, SARA can be configured as its own simulator to develop and test autonomy software and hardware.
With the launch of Phase 2, the SARA demonstrator was modified with a datalink and multi-spectral sensor package that allows it to demonstrate perception and sensor-in-the-loop flight.
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