Autonomous flight platform aims to make urban air travel mainstream

Autonomous flight platform aims to make urban air travel mainstream

Market news |
By Rich Pell

The Skyryse Flight Stack comprises technology that automates flight in FAA-approved helicopters, safety and communication systems, and a network of smart helipads. This technology, says the company, will ultimately create a new transportation system in the sky.

“Today, we design our lives around traffic and make decisions about where we live and work based on how hard it is to get there,” says Mark Groden, Skyryse CEO and founder. “Urban air mobility can change that and finally let us be in control of transportation, not the other way around. To get there, we need to make urban flying as safe as riding an elevator and as accessible and affordable as riding a bus. This requires automating flight as well as entirely new communications and safety systems.”

The company also demonstrated the Flight Stack in action, completing the world’s first fully autonomous flight – without a pilot’s hands on the controls or remote operator – in a modified FAA-approved commercial helicopter.

“Skyryse aims to operate a fleet of aircraft powered by our technology,” says Groden. “Our current autonomous flying capabilities and the Skyryse Flight Stack are giant steps forward in this new transportation system. At Skyryse we’re proud that the success of this automated flight, combined with our unique tech stack, means we’re not just leading the pack, we’re redefining the race.”

The Skyryse Flight Stack comprises the following components:

  • Simplified flight controls – Technology that enables the aircraft to fly entirely autonomously or to automate aspects of a flight, similar to cruise control for cars, under high-level guidance from the pilot.
  • Airline grade, fail-operational flight control automation – A supervisory system of sensors that helps steer, stabilize and direct the aircraft, while monitoring other flight data.
  • Envelope protection and emergency management – This additional sensor and data processing layer constantly monitors the aircraft’s movement to ensure no actions are taken that exceed safety limits, especially in emergency situations.
  • Smart Helipads – These first-of-their-kind ground-based sensor stations extend the communications network and monitor in real-time critical information the aircraft needs to know, like wind and weather conditions, to ensure a safe flight. It also detects and communicates any low flying objects in the air such as drones and birds.
  • Air Network Management – This traffic control network is designed to operate at scale and integrates with existing FAA networks. The system communicates flight paths, timing, altitude and other critical flight plan data.

Skyryse refits existing consumer-grade, dependable and certified aircraft and technologies with its software and hardware technology. The Skyryse Flight Stack is initially designed for the Robinson R-44, an FAA-approved helicopter in wide use today. Each component of the system works in triplicate with airline-grade, fail-operational technology to ensure that automation functions remain operational at all times, even in the presence of equipment failures.


Related articles:
Micron invests in autonomous, on-demand air taxi startup
Urban Air Mobility taking shape: Frankfurt airport operator cooperates with Volocopter
Boeing autonomous air taxi completes first flight
Uber, NASA partner on flying cars

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