This Thursday, August 27, Reliable Robotics, founded in 2017 by engineers who believe that planes should fly by themselves, announces that it has successfully completed test flights of unmanned passenger aircraft in U.S. airspace.
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk (C172), a four-passenger unmanned aircraft, automatically taxied, took off and landed when the pilot pressed a button on a remote interface.
The C172 program began in January 2018. Extensive system safety analysis and testing was conducted prior to the UAV test flight in September 2019. This was the first time a private company had operated a passenger aircraft of this type with no pilot on board over a populated area, and was an important step in certifying the stand-alone platform for repeated safe civil use on certified aircraft.
Following the C172 program, the platform was adapted for use on the Cessna 208 Caravan (C208), capable of carrying 14 passengers. The company very recently demonstrated fully automated remote landing on this aircraft.
Reliable Robotics is now working with the FAA to progressively bring this technology to market.
David Neeleman, founder of five commercial airlines, including JetBlue Airways, said,
Automated aircraft will revolutionize the entire airline industry, and Reliable Robotics is well positioned to be a key player in this new market.