Autonomous synchronised flight tests

Boeing has successfully completed synchronised UAV light tests in Australia using a new autonomous command and control technology developed by the company. Conducted at an undisclosed airield in Queensland, the lights saw five UAV testbeds equipped with a new onboard system safely complete what Boeing called “in-air programmed missions as a team without input from a human pilot”.

The light tests resulted from a partnership between Boeing and small and medium-sized enterprises in Queensland that targeted the rapid design, development and testing of autonomous technology. Boeing said that it engaged with and vetted local companies and issued AUD 2.3 million in contracts with 14 Queensland businesses in just two months as part of the project. The activity, delivered in partnership with the Queensland government, is part of Boeing’s Advance Queensland Autonomous Systems Platform Technology Project.

Shane Arnott, Director of Boeing Phantom Works International, said: “What we’ve created here in Australia has the potential to transform the use of unmanned vehicles for civil, commercial and defence applications, whether that be in the air, on the ground or out at sea. This capability will be a huge driver of eiciency and productivity. By safely teaming unmanned systems with human operated systems, we keep people away from dull, dirty and dangerous tasks so they can focus on activities that machines can’t or shouldn’t do.”

Boeing Australia is set to incorporate and test “more advanced behaviours on high performance air vehicles” in the coming months, the company added. Mark Broadbent