Reliable Robotics has secured a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The new contract follows Phase I of the SBIR contract, which was awarded in May last year.

Both the SBIR contract phases come under the AFRL’s AFWERX programme, which allows collaboration with technology developers to provide agile and affordable capability transitions.

The Phase II contract will see the delivery of a vehicle-independent remotely operated aircraft system for the US Air Force (USAF).

The company will further design, produce and test autonomous aircraft capabilities on USAF platforms.

Reliable Robotics will conduct a simulated and real-world flight demonstration to test its aircraft agnostic design’s adaptability with the new airframes.

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By GlobalData

The advanced autonomous system upgrade can be installed on a wide range of aircraft.

The company’s automation technology will increase mission readiness and minimise the potential loss of life during harsh missions.

During the first phase, the company evaluated the impact and opportunity for its flight technology for use with the USAF platforms.

Reliable Robotics Government Solutions senior vice-president and retired major general Dr David O’Brien said: “Our remotely piloted aircraft system unlocks opportunities for all defence agencies.

“It drives mission success in cargo delivery, logistics, surveillance, and other applications where higher tempos and lower costs are vital.”

Launched by SpaceX and Tesla veteran in 2017, Reliable Robotics’ automation system allows remote operation of different types of aircraft.

In 2019, Reliable Robotics remotely piloted a Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft over a populated region, without the presence of any onboard crew.

Last year, the company remotely operated a cargo aircraft, Cessna 208 Caravan, from a control centre located 50 miles away.

Recently, the USAF awarded a Phase II SBIR contract to Udelv to enhance the readiness of flight line.