The U.S. Army has conducted a series of flights with a fly-by-wire helicopter testbed to demonstrate autonomous operation using a scanning laser radar (ladar) to detect and avoid terrain and obstacles. The flights demonstrated the helicopter’s ability to navigate and exit canyons, detect and avoid aircraft and wires, and select a safe landing area using a capability called terrain-aware autonomy. The May flights involved the Army Flight Dynamics Directorate’s Sikorsky JUH-60A ...

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