ASL places deposit-backed order for Reliable’s autonomous tech

Reliable Robotics

ASL Aviation Holdings has placed a deposit-backed order for 30 units of Reliable Robotics’ autonomous flight system for the Cessna 208B Caravan. 

The firms have been working together since 2022 to bring remote piloting and automation into ASL’s operations and plan to expand the programme to include additional aircraft types in the next 12 months. ASL’s order secures early delivery slots for the flight system once certified.

Hugh Flynn, director at ASL Aviation said: “We are constantly developing and upgrading our capabilities to match and anticipate our customers’ requirements. Automating the Caravan with Reliable’s technology will enable ASL to deliver safe and reliable air cargo transport services at a lower operating cost to our express freight, postal and e-commerce retailer customers.”

ASL is a specialist in wet-lease airline operations for major express freight, postal and e-commerce companies. The ASL group consists of eight airlines based in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, operating over 160 aircraft.

Myles Goeller, chief business officer at Reliable Robotics said: “ASL and Reliable will work together to deliver automated air cargo services for the largest global buyers of air cargo capacity, in turn providing more goods to more people in more places. This will start with the Cessna C208B Caravan, and then we intend to bring advanced automation to a range of aircraft to meet industry needs.”

Reliable’s autonomous flight system fully automates an aircraft through all phases of operation including taxi, takeoff and landing, meaning it can be operated by a remote pilot in a ground control station.

Meanwhile, the autonomous aviation developer just completed a KC-135 Stratotanker Automation Study for the US Air Force (USAF). Commissioned as part of a Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract, the study examined how Reliable’s system would be integrated into large multi-engine aircraft. Reliable reported that the findings further validated that their commercially developed technology can be scaled to automate all phases of KC-135 operation including taxi, takeoff and landing, while continuing to mature automation of the refuelling boom. 

“The Air Force is continually innovating, and autonomy will be a key enabler for global missions and agile combat employment,” said Colonel Lisa A. Nemeth, Headquarters Air Mobility Command A5/8, deputy director Strategy, Plans, Requirements, and Programs. “Automating the KC-135 for refuelling, cargo transport, and joint operations with coalition military forces will allow pilots and crew to focus on higher-complexity tasks.”