Several companies are building drones from scratch, but fledgling Xwing has taken a different approach, focusing on software to make existing aircraft unmanned.
The company says it has reached a milestone by showcasing the first fully autonomous commercial cargo trip on a “from and to” basis. During the demonstration, the remotely controlled aircraft Cessna Grand Caravan 208B with the AutoFlight software package installed on its computer left the parking lot, taxied onto the runway, took off, flew, landed and returned to the terminal on its own. All interaction with the air traffic control system was carried out remotely from the ground, Xwing said.
Xwing believes that equipping existing aircraft with a system developed by the company’s specialists will allow them to quickly overcome regulatory and technical obstacles and enter the market faster than competitors. Said AutoFlight software uses data from radar, ADS-B, optical cameras and lidar to detect obstacles, including other aircraft, and to avoid collisions. This should help a single ground operator manage multiple flights simultaneously with a simple point-and-click mechanism.
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