Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky has operated a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter with a full-authority, fly-by-wire flight control retrofit technology kit that completely removes mechanical flight controls from the aircraft.

The start to flight testing for the soon-to-be optionally piloted aircraft will be followed with testing throughout the summer of 2019 with aims to achieve fully autonomous flight in 2020.

Sikorsky’s pilot-directed autonomous technology should give operators the confidence to fly aircraft safely, reliably, and affordably with two, one, or zero crew. Sikorsky has been demonstrating the technology on a modified S-76B helicopter that now has more than 300 hours of autonomous flight.

Boeing invests in Robotic Skies

Boeing’s HorizonX Ventures is investing in Robotic Skies, a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services provider for commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturers and operators which has a network of more than 170 civil aviation authority-certified repair stations across more than 40 countries.

The investment builds on a previously announced collaboration with Robotic Skies, Boeing Global Services, and its subsidiaries Aviall and Jeppesen to provide enhanced commercial UAS services.