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Fri, May 19, 2023

Reliable Robotics Conducts Autonomous Flight Demo at Travis AFB

Living Up to a Name

Founded in 2017 by CEO Robert Rose and CTO Jureg Frefel for purpose of bringing safe, certified automation systems to commercial aviation, Mountain View, California-based Reliable Robotics announced on 17 May 2023 that it had, during the recent Golden Phoenix readiness exercise at Travis Air Force Base, demonstrated capabilities by which the United States Air Force (USAF) stands to contemporaneously up the modernity of its aircraft fleet and better project safe, rapid, global mobility.

During the demonstration flight, the company’s remotely operated aircraft system successfully executed an end-to-end automated mission—including auto-taxi, auto-takeoff, climb-out and auto-landing. An onboard test-pilot monitored but took no active part in the undertaking.

Major Wesley Williams of Travis AFB’s Phoenix Spark Innovation Lab stated: "This signifies a historic milestone as an aircraft, under the guidance of Air Mobility Command airmen, autonomously taxied, took off, and landed at an AMC base for the first time. Today marked a truly historic day for the Air Force. This is how we win.”

Reliable Robotics’s remotely-operated aircraft system includes high-precision navigation, sophisticated flight planning capabilities, and robust flight controls. The system the company is developing and intends to see certified is intended to facilitate continuous autopilot engagement through all phases of flight, thereby supporting remote piloting across multiple aircraft types. Last year, the certification basis for Reliable Robotics’s advanced navigation and auto-flight system was accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

USAF 60th Air Mobility Wing commander Colonel Derek Salmi set forth: “Commercial innovation can increase the Air Force’s ability to generate air power more frequently and over longer distances, providing our Airmen greater options in leading critical missions around the world. It was inspiring to watch the autonomous flight demonstration. … partnerships between industry and Airmen offer endless possibilities.”

By dint of Reliable Robotics’s automation solution, the Air Force actualizes the benefits of a state-of-the-art commercial technology at once conducive to increased aircraft availability; broader deployment options in manned, unmanned, or pilot + 1 configurations; and mitigating deployments of USAF personnel to high-risk regions.

What’s more, remote piloting occasions, ostensibly, safe and efficient aircraft operation in all flying environments—in so doing supporting the Air Force’s mission to carry out forward operations around both globe and clock.

Reliable Robotics—under a Phase III Small Business Innovative Research contract—is working with the USAF to demonstrate the flight performance and safety of remotely piloted aircraft in dynamic operating environments. The company has also received an Air Force award by which it will explore the feasibility of automating large, multi-engine, turbine aircraft.



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