Reliable Robotics Flies Large Cargo Aircraft with No One On Board

FAA-approved uncrewed flight test, supervised by a remote pilot, is an important step forward for the aviation industry.

Reliable Robotics, a leader in aircraft automation systems, announced a significant milestone in its work to bring advanced safety-enhancing technologies to market in the United States. Last month’s successful flight of a Cessna 208B Caravan with no one on board was a first for aviation. A remote pilot supervised the uncrewed aircraft from Reliable’s control center 50 miles away. For a 360° experience inside the cockpit, view and scroll around at:

The Reliable autonomous flight system enables the aircraft to be remotely operated by a pilot on the ground and improves safety by fully automating the aircraft through all phases of operation, including taxi, takeoff, and landing. Reliable’s system is aircraft agnostic and utilizes multiple layers of redundancy and advanced navigation technology to achieve the levels of integrity and reliability necessary for uncrewed flight. The system will prevent controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and loss of control in flight (LOC-I), which account for most fatal aviation accidents.

The Cessna Caravan is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc. Reliable Robotics has been collaborating with Textron Aviation, which includes the Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker brands, and Textron Aviation focused on sustainable flying. Textron Aviation has delivered more than 3,000 Caravans, proving it the world’s most popular turboprop utility aircraft.

“Textron Aviation is committed to delivering continuous aviation improvements, and our relationship with Reliable Robotics advances this work,” said Chris Hearne, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Programs, Textron Aviation. “Reliable’s successful flight of an uncrewed Cessna 208 Caravan represents a milestone for the industry in bringing new technology to aviation.”

The Caravan and other regional cargo aircraft are essential in connecting communities and businesses across the United States and around the globe. With a useful load of over 3,000 pounds and a takeoff performance to operate from shorter runways, these aircraft deliver time-sensitive shipments to many places that would otherwise not have next-day or same-day service. Remote piloting will allow even more areas to benefit from this critical service.

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