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RocketRoute will provide flight plan for BAE Robotic Aircraft

19 December 2016 by  | 

A robot aircraft is to be tested in UK airspace by RocketRoute client, BAE. The company plans to refine systems that control autonomous planes with a series of 17 flights using a converted Jetstream 31.

BAE

The trial will assess piloting software as well as sensor systems that monitor clouds and other aircraft.

Although the plane is capable of flying itself, human pilots will handle take-off and landing. BAE, which uses RocketRoute for flight planning and to file flight plans, say the craft will be autonomous as it navigates the 300 miles (482km) from Lancashire to Inverness.

While flying, the Jetstream plane will use data from satellites as well as on-board identification systems that log radio signals broadcast by transponders on other planes. The Jetstream is also fitted with a camera that can see other air users even if they are not emitting warning signals. This camera also surveys the skies around the craft to spot bad weather or heavy cloud, allowing the aircraft to adjust its route to avoid turbulence and other challenging conditions.

On its autonomous 90 minute flight, the aircraft will follow a route through non-congested airspace at an altitude of about 15,000ft (4.6km).Maureen McCue, head of BAE’s research and technology, said,

“We are working towards the possibility of flying our own unmanned systems in a highly controlled environment in the UK.”

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