Authorities check autonomous helicopter's firefighting capabilities
Lockheed Martin’s and Kaman’s Okay-MAX helicopters are recognized for transporting cargo in Afghanistan, nevertheless it may quickly be saving lives and nature within the US, as nicely. The businesses have demonstrated an autonomous Okay-MAX with firefighting capabilities in entrance of federal officers on October 14th close to Boise, Idaho. Whereas there was a pilot onboard in the course of the flight, he had his arms up more often than not, indicating that the plane can fly by itself. Inside an hour-and-a-half, the chopper accomplished seven duties, together with scooping up water and dropping it on targets.
Feds need to use autonomous choppers to battle wildfires, as they the can fly at night time and even in low visibility (e.g. when the smoke will get too thick), with out endangering pilots’ lives. The Okay-MAX used for the demo flight could be managed remotely, although it could actually additionally fly by itself — even when it loses its reference to floor management — as long as it is preprogrammed with a route and a vacation spot. It is outfitted with three communication strategies and has two totally different satellite tv for pc hyperlinks, as nicely. Authorities are nonetheless contemplating different corporations’ choppers for the undertaking, however Inside Division’s Mark Bathrick stated autonomous helicopters could possibly be battling wildfires as quickly as subsequent summer time.
[Image credit: Lockheed Martin]