A California firm has revealed a radical new AI'pilot assistance' system it hopes could change they way we travel. SkyRyse says its first craft will begin operations in Tracy, California, in January where it will provide support to the city's emergency response units, including law enforcement, search and rescue missions, and firefighters. The system will eventually allow helicopters and other vehicles to fly themselves, and its founder hopes to take on Uber and others developing'flying taxi' services. SkyRyse says its first craft will begin operations in Tracy, California, in January providing support to emergency response units. It will eventually allow helicopters and other vehicles to fly themselves.
Visions of the future tend to be clear-cut. Air taxis will fill the skies. The renderings and trend reports tend to elide the messy road map to that future. Yes, advances in lightweight materials, electric propulsion, and aeronautic controls have put the dream of electric people-packing quadcopter drones within reach. But while an armada of companies are working on delivering that new class of aircraft, one California startup isn't waiting for the invention of the hydraulic shovel to get in on this gold rush.
In a new demo, autonomous helicopter company, Skyryse, showed off technology that it says could re-shape self-flying vehicles. Though Skyryse is far from the only company looking to automate flying, it claims a unique advantage over competitors that allows technology to be overlaid on non-autonomous helicopters. In its recently released demo, Skyryse shows its technology operating a Robinson R-44 - a Federal Aviation Administration-approved helicopter - while two safety pilots stand by in the cockpit. According to the company, its technology offers an option to fully automate a helicopter or automate only portions of the flight. The company describes these features as'similar to cruise control for cars, under high-level guidance from the pilot.'
With the possible exception of Tom Cruise, learning to fly a helicopter demands months of classroom, simulator, and in-air training. The controls feature all the logic of Bop It: Twist one hand, move the other to the left. Push one foot, then the other. Watch the instruments, but don't forget to look at the horizon. I once spent a full day working with Airbus' top instructors, and by the end couldn't even keep the chopper in level flight.
Adam Shelly (left), an Xwing software engineer, stands with CEO and founder Marc Piette (center) and ... [ ] CTO Maxime Gariel in front of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan the startup has retrofitted to fly autonomously. Scores of companies are working to develop pilotless robot aircraft that are electrically powered and takeoff and land vertically. That's an awful lot of change to pull off at once. Xwing is among a handful of aviation startups that are aiming to get to market sooner by taking on just one piece of that puzzle, in its case, making aircraft fly autonomously. The San Francisco-based company claims to have pulled off the first fully autonomous flight of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, a small workhorse cargo plane, and it's hoping to win approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch commercial cargo deliveries with unmanned Grand Caravans over unpopulated areas in 2022.