Reliable Robotics completes FAA congested airspace integration demo


Reliable Robotics has been demonstrating successful integration of remotely piloted aircraft systems into congested airspace for the FAA.

The series of flight tests and simulations formed part of the FAA’s Urban Air Mobility Airspace Management Demonstration (UAMD). Funded by the FAA through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the demonstration included a week-long series of flights in Northern California. The tests demonstrated Reliable’s ability to execute vectoring, airspeed diverts and fly under various simulated weather conditions in simulated Class B airspace.

Davis Hackenberg, vice president of Government Partnerships, Reliable Robotics told Revolution.Aero collaboration with the FAA will continue. “Reliable and the FAA will continue to collaborate on future research opportunities both related to UAM operations, and those related to our cargo delivery use case with associated enabling technologies.”

Diana Liang, Enterprise Portfolio Manager at the FAA, said: “The flight tests conducted by Reliable Robotics highlighted the ability for new aircraft systems to interact with third-party service providers and seamlessly integrate into future airspace environments, and provided critical data for future operations.”

Reliable shared aircraft telemetry through the company’s control centre to third-party service provider, OneSky who then transmitted the data to the FAA’s NextGen Integration & Evaluation Capability (NIEC) research lab. FAA air traffic controllers were on hand to provide the programme office with validation and insights.

Hackenberg added:“Collaborating with the FAA on demonstrations like this will help enable the future of mobility and the evolution of our airspace to accommodate new aircraft systems. Watching our system successfully operate in a live test environment is exciting, and we are proud to help pave the way for future integration of large uncrewed aircraft.”

Reliable’s system will improve aviation safety and prevent common causes of accidents such as controlled flight into terrain and loss of control, by enabling continuous autopilot engagement through taxi, takeoff and landing.  

In June, the FAA formally accepted Reliable’s certification plan. With a timeline of 18-24 months to get to market, the autonomous flight systems developer said to its knowledge “no other applicant has reached this milestone”. Once certified Reliable’s system will enable continuous autopilot through all phases of aircraft operation including taxi, takeoff and landing.