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Aviation Automation Climbs New Heights With ALIAS

U.S. Army Apache helicopter

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) project aims to develop autonomous artificial intelligences to improve flight safety and performance in battlefield operations. ALIAS' goals include producing a customizable, drop-in, removable kit so fewer onboard crew members will be needed on military aircraft.

With its initial fly-by-wire experiment led by Sikorsky scheduled for completion in May or June, ALIAS would enable advanced automation to be added to existing aircraft. DARPA in 2016 proved the effectiveness of the effort's sensory and avoidance capabilities with a Cessna 172G aircraft approaching an unmanned aerial system from multiple angles.

DARPA's Lt. Col. Philip Root said once a fly-by-wire AI has been successfully demonstrated, "we can begin adding the autonomy flight controls—operating in the background like a lane assist [feature in cars that helps] the human operator avoid a tree."

From Federal Computer Week
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