Sikorsky Awarded DARPA ALIAS Contract Towards Aircraft Autonomy

Mark Miller, vice president, Sikorsky Engineering and Technology
Mark Miller, vice president, Sikorsky Engineering and Technology

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has won the contract for Phase 3 of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program.

DARPA’s ALIAS program is leveraging advances in autonomy to reduce pilot workload, augment mission performance, and improve aircraft safety and reliability.

DARPA is working with Sikorsky to improve and expand the capabilities developed through a tailorable autonomy kit for installation in both fixed wing airplanes and helicopters.

After completion of the first two phases of the program, Sikorsky successfully integrated its Matrix Technology™ into Sikorsky’s Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) and also on a Cessna Caravan.

(Learn More, seeing Sikorsky Complete the DARPA ALIAS Phase 1 Autonomous Flight. Courtesy of Lockheed Martin and YouTube)

DARPA ALIAS utilizes Matrix, a capability toolkit that includes hardware and software as well as multi-spectral sensors that enable scalable automation.

“Our work with DARPA has continued to grow and our team is excited to begin Phase 3 on the ALIAS program. Our autonomy capabilities will help pilots in high workload and degraded visual environments ultimately increasing safety and efficiency,” explained Mark Miller, vice president, Sikorsky Engineering and Technology.

“We have developed this flexible technology with safety, effectiveness and efficiency in mind to support ALIAS. We deliberately want our customers to have the ability to determine the best utilization of the technology.”

The aim of DARPA's ALIAS programs is to reduce both pilot workload & the number of crew required for larger aircraft. Pictured here, pilots conducting pre-flight checks inside the cockpit of a B-52H Stratofortress. Image Credit: USAF, Airman 1st Class JT Armstrong)
The aim of DARPA’s ALIAS programs is to reduce both pilot workload & the number of crew required for larger aircraft. Pictured here, pilots conducting pre-flight checks inside the cockpit of a B-52H Stratofortress. Image Credit: USAF, Airman 1st Class JT Armstrong)

“Pilots can choose to engage autonomy to help operate, dynamically plan, adjust and/or execute a complete spectrum of responsibilities allowing the operators to better focus on the designated mission at hand.”

Through the DARPA ALIAS program, Sikorsky is developing systems intelligence that will give operators the confidence to fly aircraft safely, reliably and affordably in optimally piloted modes enabling flight with two, one or zero crew. The program will improve operator decision aiding for manned operations while also enabling unmanned operations.

For additional information, visit our Rotary Wing and DARPA News web pages.

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