Skyryse to supply advanced flight automation to Robinson Helicopter
By Vertical Mag | October 27, 2021
Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 41 seconds.
Robinson Helicopter Company plans to integrate an advanced flight automation system from Skyryse into its R66 helicopter, making it possible for almost anyone to safely control the aircraft with touchscreen tablets and a joystick.
According to Skyryse, Robinson is one of five aircraft original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to establish partnerships with the Los Angeles-based technology company for its FlightOS product, which will “enable anyone to fly as safely as the best pilots on their best day.”
Although Skyryse didn’t reveal the others, it said that the OEMs collectively produce over half of the world’s new general aviation aircraft.
“The general aviation industry is about to change forever,” Skyryse founder and CEO Dr. Mark Groden declared in a press release. “We’re on a mission to empower anyone to fly anywhere in any aircraft as safely as the most experienced pilots in the world. Our technology will usher in a new era of mobility, from fighting fires in remote areas to relieving traffic in crowded cities.”
Skyryse said its fly-by-wire hardware and software package can be integrated into any aircraft. It has been conducting flight testing in helicopters including a Robinson R44, which actor Jon Hamm is shown flying in the company’s latest video. Although Hamm is shown controlling the aircraft with Apple iPads, Skyryse told TechCrunch that its finished product will use “aviation certified touchscreens.”
Article Continues Below
According to Skyryse, its technology protects the pilot from exiting the flight envelope, is equipped with terrain and obstacle avoidance, and can safely manage the aircraft through emergencies, including power failures. Last month, the company said, a Skyryse-enabled helicopter autonomously entered an autorotation and controlled the descent while gliding to earth without engine power or pilot intervention.
This week, the company announced US$200 million in Series B funding, bringing its total capital raised to date to $250 million. The Series B round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and Monashee Investment Management, with participation by a number of new and existing investors.
Skyryse has also brought on two new advisors to help guide its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process, including former FAA head Michael Huerta and former National Transportation Safety Board chairman Chris Hart. Both highlighted the potential for Skyryse’s technology to achieve dramatic gains in aviation safety.
Said Hart: “This is a breakthrough that the aviation industry has been waiting for to make air transportation accessible to everyone at safety levels that were previously attainable only on commercial airlines.”