Reliable Robotics Awarded Military Airworthiness Approval for a Commercial Autonomous Flight System

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Reliable Robotics, a leader in autonomous aircraft systems, today announced that it has received military airworthiness approval to begin flight testing and operational missions of its remotely piloted Cessna 208 Caravan for the U.S. Air Force. This approval signifies a deeper level of engagement with the Department of Defense (DoD) by enabling Reliable to demonstrate dual-use automated flight capabilities for military use cases, including cargo missions.

“Nothing compares to showcasing how our autonomous flight capabilities will immediately enable new ways for the U.S. Air Force and other departments of the military to lead with innovation, improve safety and project power across the globe,” said Dr. David O’Brien, Major General (Ret.), and Senior Vice President of Government Solutions at Reliable Robotics.

DoD airworthiness policies require all aircraft and air systems owned, leased, operated, used, designed, or modified for Air Force applications complete an airworthiness assessment in accordance with Air Force standards. In order to meet these requirements, Reliable completed a comprehensive safety analysis, maintenance and operational evaluations and testing of the automated flight technologies. This airworthiness achievement was a key milestone of Reliable’s Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.

“Our AFWERX partners are developing exciting automation technologies through robust engineering and flight test campaigns,” said Hank “Hog” Griffiths, AFWERX Airworthiness and Test Lead. “The technology is maturing rapidly and this airworthiness approval for a certified aircraft retrofitted with an autonomous flight system provides significant opportunities for the military.”

Reliable’s collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and AFWERX began in 2021 and includes SBIR awards, as well as a large aircraft automation study. In 2023, Reliable demonstrated automated flight for distinguished military personnel as part of the Golden Phoenix exercise at Travis Air Force base.

About Reliable Robotics

Reliable Robotics launched in 2017 to bring safe, certified automation systems to commercial aviation. The company’s system enables remote operation of any aircraft type. Reliable’s vision is to transform the way we move goods and people around the planet with safer, more convenient and more affordable air transportation. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, CA and has a distributed global workforce.

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About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development.

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As the innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFWERX brings cutting-edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. AFWERX employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at six hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4 billion budget. Since 2019, AFWERX has executed 4,697 contracts worth more than $2.6 billion to strengthen the U.S. defence industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability.

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