Boeing has successfully completed the first
suite of synchronised unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight tests
using new on-board autonomous command and control technology
developed by Boeing in Australia.
Conducted at a regional Queensland airfield, the
test flights saw five UAV test beds equipped with Boeing’s new
on-board system safely complete in-air programmed missions as a
team without input from a human pilot.
The milestone comes six months after
establishing the company’s largest international autonomous
systems development program in Queensland.
“What we’ve created here in Australia has the
potential to transform the use of unmanned vehicles for civil,
commercial and defence applications – whether that be in the air,
on the ground or out at sea,” said Shane Arnott, director of
Boeing Phantom Works International. “This capability will be a huge driver of
efficiency and productivity. By safely teaming unmanned systems
with human operated systems, we keep people away from dull, dirty
and dangerous tasks so they can focus on activities that machines
can’t or shouldn’t do.”
Boeing’s partnership with small and medium-sized
enterprises helped drive rapid design, development and testing of
this autonomous technology. In just two months, Boeing engaged
small-to-medium enterprises and vetted and issued AU$2.3 million
in contracts with 14 Queensland businesses.
Over the coming months, the Boeing Australia
team will incorporate and test more advanced behaviours on
high-performance air vehicles before exploring other domains such
as unmanned ocean vehicles.
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