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Referenced article published on on May 11, 2023 written by Jack Daleo. Link to original article:

Air Force Awards Xwing Autonomous Flight System Development Contract

Bay Area’s Xwing, a renowned autonomous aviation firm, has been awarded a significant Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX Prime program. This partnership paves the way for ground-breaking advancements in the commercialization of autonomous flight systems. Trials have commenced using Xwing’s “Superpilot” flight control system on a Cessna 208 Caravan. Pilots and commanders will monitor the autonomous capabilities of the system during the 21-month trial, while a ground crew supervises the flights.

The Superpilot system boasts self-navigation and evasive maneuvering abilities, detecting obstacles with sensors and cameras. It’s capable of learning from data from numerous commercial cargo flights, and the system’s technology is transferable. Once certification is achieved, planes will fly without onboard pilots, transforming air cargo operations.

Superpilot is already progressing towards FAA certification, marking it as the first UAS designed to comply with airworthiness safety standards equivalent to passenger aircraft and incorporating artificial intelligence. This certification will permit Xwing to switch its entire fleet of Cessna Caravans to fully remote cargo operations. The company currently operates as a Part 135 air carrier, conducting around 400 feeder cargo flights weekly for UPS.

Superpilot’s uniqueness lies in its transferability, allowing it to operate on multiple different aircraft models. This attribute is expected to attract numerous partnerships, propelling its technology to the market. Given the reduced risk of no human passengers, Xwing’s autonomous flight system provides an optimistic vision for the future of unmanned aviation.