04/20/2021

Lockheed Martin has tested Sikorsky’s S-70 Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV)

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Sikorsky and DARPA Fly OPV Black Hawk
with Supervised Autonomy

Sikorsky and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are working to dramatically improve flight safety and operations so humans and machines can work together more seamlessly in the field. Sikorsky is leading the way toward a future where aircraft can be operated with two, one or zero pilots at all times of the day or night and in a variety of complex scenarios, including contested, congested, degraded visual environments (DVE).

This technology suite already exists in Sikorsky’s S-70 Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) Black Hawk and the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA), a modified S-76B helicopter. Developed under DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) and with the support of Sikorsky’s MATRIX™ Technology, pilots can focus on saving lives or transporting cargo instead of the mechanics required for contemporary flight.

“Our end goal is to transition this technology to help address emerging mission requirements, including those outlined in the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.” ~ Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky Innovations

In the Palm of Your Hand
This technology was recently tested in a first-of-its-kind mission, demonstrating complete supervised autonomy capabilities on the S-70 OPV Black Hawk – including autonomous take-off, landing and two simulated obstacle avoidance scenarios – all completed with a tablet.“Through the ALIAS program and our unique combination of autonomy software and hardware, we are bringing our customers one step closer to safer and smarter flight,” said Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky Innovations. “Our end goal is to transition this technology to help address emerging mission requirements, including those outlined in the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.”

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With ALIAS, there is the potential to transform how aviators and air crews execute their critical missions; operators can fly their aircraft safely, reliably, confidently, and affordably, even with reduced crew and limited visibility.