Boeing has conducted an end-to-end flight test using three high performance unmanned test beds, marking a key milestone for the company’s Autonomous Systems Platform Technology Project.
During the flight, Boeing Australia successfully performed a number of tests, including having three jets taking off autonomously, achieving the required in-flight formations, breaking formation and each autonomously landing.
“The goal of our mission was to completely test out our mission system software from start to finish, using three high performance jets,” said Emily Hughes, director of Boeing’s Phantom Works International. “While we have previously flown larger numbers aircraft autonomously, this was our first opportunity to perform an end-to-end mission test with three high performance test bed aircraft, at speeds of up to 200 Km/h,” said Hughes.
The test returned pleasing results, demonstrating Boeing’s mission system is performing as intended, she added, crediting the company’s technical team as well as RFDesigns who supported the flight mission on-site in Tara, QLD.
The Autonomous Systems Platform Technology Project is Boeing’s second Advance Queensland investment partnership with the Queensland Government. Boeing and its partners are developing new on-board autonomous command and control technology to enable unmanned vehicles to perceive, process, communicate and act in accordance with their programmed mission – without input from a human operator. Boeing will continue flight tests for the project in Cloncurry, Australia’s first drone flight test facility, later this year.
The technology developed as part of this project is informing Boeing’s development autonomous aircraft, including the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.