It’s no secret that there is an autopilot system in helicopters and airplanes. In airplanes, the pilot can transfer control to the autopilot, including for landing, which is very useful in conditions of poor visibility. After climbing, the helicopter’s autopilot is able to control the aircraft along the flight route, move along the course and maintain the altitude, make turns, but will not be able to land the helicopter on the runway.
Skyryse went further in its trials and created a helicopter control system from the ground, completely freeing the pilot from aircraft control. The unmanned helicopter control system is called Luna, which is included in the Flight Stack kit, which includes touch panels for controlling the helicopter. The developers claim that with the help of their system, any lethal device can be turned into a drone. Helicopter control is carried out using a tablet or joystick.
The company is conducting tests and more than one autonomous helicopter flight has been completed under the control of Luna. The system is installed on a Robinson R44 helicopter. The control system, after refinement, can be adapted for any helicopter.
Of course, using this kind of control system raises the question of flight safety. Each of the subsystems has triple redundancy, that is, in order for a failure to occur, it is necessary that three redundant modules of the subsystem responsible for a particular piloting parameter fail. Purely theoretical such a system can be considered as safe as possible. A helicopter or any other aircraft must be equipped with sensors, sensors and a radar station to evaluate flight information, analyze parameters and read data from the Luna control system.
Luna can be used on the principle of autopilot, to relieve the load from the pilot, but is also able to fully conduct a flight from takeoff to landing helicopter. Of course, it is being developed towards full automation of the flight without the participation of the pilot. To do this, it is also necessary to equip helipads with special sensors.
Sensors monitor the situation around the runway and transmit it to the helicopter. The helicopter reads the transmitted information about the location of other aircraft and aircraft in the area of approach to the runway, including drones and drones. The helicopter also receives information about weather conditions, the speed and nature of the wind, which allows the system to analyze all aspects and take off, pilot the helicopter, as well as draw up the approach path and land the helicopter safely. It can also independently take control in case of unforeseen situations, loss of control control by the pilot, or eliminate piloting errors on the pilot’s side, if necessary, to minimize the risks of flying a helicopter.
According to experts, Skyryse Luna is able to integrate into air traffic control systems. Perhaps in the near future, helicopters under the control of the operator will make unmanned flights between cities. Such helicopters can be used in hard-to-reach places, in emergency situations, where there may be a threat to human life. Already today, Luna shows amazing results and allows everyone to try themselves in the role of a pilot, while not having any helicopter piloting skills. Progress does not stand still, the future lies in innovative technologies.
Most of the parameters and operation algorithms were not disclosed by developers, is a trade secret. For our part, we can talk about what we learned, but also observe the tests using video from Skyryse.
You can watch the presentation video of a helicopter flight under the control of the Luna system in our Instagram profile.