Boeing Tests Synchronized Autonomous Flight


Image: Boeing

Boeing has announced the successful completion of its first series of synchronized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight tests. The tests were completed using new onboard autonomous command and control technology that the company says is designed to automatically perceive, processes and react in coordination with other UAVs. The new system was developed and tested in Australia as part of Boeing’s Advance Queensland Autonomous Systems Platform Technology Project.

“What we’ve created here in Australia has the potential to transform the use of unmanned vehicles for civil, commercial and defense applications—whether that be in the air, on the ground or out at sea,” said Shane Arnott, director of Boeing Phantom Works International. “By safely teaming unmanned systems with human-operated systems, we keep people away from dull, dirty and dangerous tasks so they can focus on activities that machines can’t or shouldn’t do.”

Five UAVs were equipped with the new technology for the test flights. According to Boeing, the drones were able to safely complete preprogrammed missions as a group without human input once they were airborne. For the next step, the company says its Australia team plans to test more complex behaviors with high-performance UAVs.