Remote piloting and automated assistance software is slowly creeping into non-commercial aircraft. Compared to self-driving tech, these systems have had an easier ride with air safety regulators due to their co-existence with human operators. But, a handful of fledgling autonomous flight companies are striving to change that. Today, one of those startups, Boston-based Merlin Labs, is announcing a partnership that will bring its on-board automation software to a fleet of 55 King Air utility aircraft. The pact with aerospace company Dynamic Aviation coincides with Merlin's emergence from stealth mode, marking the first time its tech for fixed-wing aircraft will be used publicly.
AI startup Merlin Labs today deactivated stealth mode to announce a $25 million funding round and a partnership with Dynamic Aviation to put a fleet of 55 King Air planes in the sky without humans aboard. What we're building is software that creates a think-for-itself-pilot … fully-autonomous flight take-off to touchdown. The big idea: See a need, fill a need. Merlin Labs is taking autonomous software technology and building an artificially intelligent pilot. Autonomous fixed-wing flight might sound familiar, but there's a huge difference between designing a remote or hybrid-controlled drone from the ground up and building a system that can fly nearly any fixed wing aircraft.
Merlin helicopters have today made history by becoming the first aircraft to land on the £3.1billion supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pair of helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron touched down on her four acre flight deck on Monday. The huge 65,000-tonne vessel, the largest in the Royal Navy, will eventually be capable of operating up to 36 F-35 Lightening II jets and 14 helicopters. In particular, members of the Ship's Air Department, which provides air traffic control, flight deck management, flight planning and meteorological services, have been busy training for today. The two Merlin helicopters (pictured) made history today by becoming the first aircraft to land on the £3.1billion supercarrier They have been learning how to operate aircraft from such a large deck and getting to grips with the state-of-the-art equipment they now have available at their finger tips.
If you live in southwest Virginia, don't be surprised at the sight of a drone winging its way on another airborne delivery run over your neighborhood soon. Wing, the drone delivery service spun off from Alphabet's Google, hopes to start flights to homes and businesses in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas by the end of the year now that it has the blessings of the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA announced earlier this week that it had approved Wing as the first air carrier certified for drone delivery. In receiving the certification, Wing beat Amazon to the punch despite all the attention that the online merchandise giant has drawn over its interest in deliveries by air. Both companies, along with others, have been racing to develop drones as a more cost-effective way of delivering small, high-value orders, like medicine.
Asavie, the provider of next-generation enterprise mobility management and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solutions has announced at DellEMC World its partnership with Merlin CSI, a firm specializing in software design, implementation and the support of industrial IoT automation and control systems. The partnership positions Asavie PassBridge as the underlying secure IoT connectivity platform in Merlin CSI's enterprise customers' IoT strategies.