ONR’s Autonomous Resupply Program a Finalist for NAA Award

The National Aeronautic Association has selected an Office of Naval Research-led autonomous helicopter flight demonstration program as a finalist for the nonprofit organization’s Robert J. Collier Trophy.

ONR partnered with Boeing‘s Aurora Flight Sciences subsidiary to develop the Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System in an effort to accelerate the delivery of ammunition, equipment, food, water, medical supplies and fuel to Marines in the field, the office said Feb. 13.

AACUS consists of sensors and software designed to provide flight, routing, obstacle detection, takeoff and landing capacities needed for a helicopter to operate autonomously.

Users of the autonomus technology can manage AACUS-equipped helicopters with a handheld tablet, ONR noted.

The system was tested on a UH-1 helicopter at a U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, in December.

ONR said it will transition the program to USMC for further development and experimentation of the system.

NAA also named multiple projects at Boeing, Edwards Air Force Base and NASA among other finalists for the Robert J. Collier Trophy.

The association is scheduled to announce the winner on March 23.

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