Aurora Looking to Make Huey Helicopter Optionally Piloted
Aurora Flight Sciences’ Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program will attempt to integrate the company’s Tactical Autonomous Aerial Logistics System (TALOS) onto the UH-1H “Huey” helicopter, making it into an optionally manned vehicle.
Regarding the TALOS, Aurora's R&D Center Vice President John Wissler said, “TALOS is not an aircraft, nor is it a robot flying an aircraft — TALOS is transferable intelligence designed with both manned and unmanned aircraft requirements in mind.”
He continued, “the value of TALOS can be described in a few words — platform agnostic, scalable autonomy, onboard sensing of the environment, and on-board intelligence that no other system in the world can provide.”
The AACUS program’s objective is to make unmanned systems (with the option to be manned in some cases) with VTOL capability, for the purposes of conducting rapid cargo delivery. The company wants its unmanned systems to be able to land even in places that aren’t prepped to deal with traditional aircraft.
Aurora has tested the TALOS previously on a Boeing H-6U Unmanned Little Bird, as well as three different human-piloted Bell 206 aircraft.
Demonstrations for the TALOS on the UH-1H helicopter, which is currently being developed, are expected to take place from 2017-2018.