DARPA awards ALIAS programme Phase III contract to Sikorsky


Sikorsky has been contracted to work on the third phase of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) aircrew labour in-cockpit automation system (ALIAS) programme.

The ALIAS programme seeks to develop a customised hardware and software kit, including multi-spectral sensors, to facilitate the addition of high levels of automation into existing fixed-wing aeroplanes and helicopters, enabling operation with reduced onboard crew.

Sikorsky engineering and technology vice-president Mark Miller said: "Our work with DARPA has continued to grow and our team is excited to begin Phase III on the ALIAS programme.

"The first two phases of the programme involved the successful integration of Matrix Technology into Sikorsky autonomy research aircraft (SARA) and also on a Cessna Caravan."

“Our autonomy capabilities will help pilots in high-workload and degraded visual environments ultimately increasing safety and efficiency.

The first two phases of the programme involved the successful integration of Matrix Technology into Sikorsky autonomy research aircraft (SARA) and also on a Cessna Caravan.

Miller further added: "We have developed this flexible technology with safety, effectiveness and efficiency in mind to support ALIAS.”

Through the programme, DARPA focuses on reducing pilot workload, augmenting mission performance, and improving aircraft safety and reliability.

The aircraft safety would be provided with easy-to-use touch and voice interfaces.

The kits are being developed to support the aircraft from takeoff to landing, even in the face of contingency events such as aircraft system failures, DARPA said in a statement.

The programme will also improve operator decision aiding for manned operations while also enabling unmanned operations.