Autonomous flight platform aims to make urban air travel mainstream

December 18, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Autonomous flight platform aims to make urban air travel mainstream
Transportation technology startup Skyryse (Hawthorne, CA) has unveiled a suite of automation technologies that it says will help the company make safe urban flight mainstream.

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

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