Startup Reliable Robotics receives $100M in funding to replace pilots with robots

The company has already completed tests flying unmanned aircraft over a ‘populated region’

Adam Smith
Friday 15 October 2021 13:59 BST
(Reliable Robotics)
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A new startup that replaces pilots with robots has received $100 million in funding.

Reliable Robotics argues that, with many planes now being controlled automatically, that pilots are the most expensive aspects of cargo operations. Trucking is monotonous and uninteresting work, meaning it is also the source of the most mistakes.

Its technology is aimed at handling the taxi, takeoff, landing, and parking parts of cargo flights – monitored by licensed pilots remotely in the control centre. It is claimed that autonomous planes could save airlines approximately $60 billion per year.

The company claims it can auto-land on small landing strips in rural or remote area without any need for extra infrastructure. In the future, this might extend to a scenario where passengers can travel on remotely piloted planes too. In 2019, the company conducted an unmanned test flight over a “populated region” without a pilot on board using a Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

One year after, the company achieved a fully automated remote landing of the larger Cessna 208 Caravan, which can carry up to 14 people.

Self-driving, and flying, technology has many advocates, but has also been the cause of concern.

In April this year, it was claimed that Tesla’s self-driving technology can be “easily tricked” to turn on when nobody is sitting in the driving seat. There have also been reports of

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also said it is formally investigating Tesla and its partially automated driving system because it failed to spot emergency vehicles including ambulances and fire engines.

For planes, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is monitoring Reliable and similar companies, but has approved a number of experimental unmanned crafts.

“We appreciate our public-private partnership with the FAA and NASA as we work to integrate our Remotely Operated Aircraft System into the airspace. We intend to bring unprecedented safety and reliability to today’s commercial aircraft,” said Robert Rose, co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics, as quoted by TechCrunch.

“Close collaboration with our public institutions, strong backing from visionary investors and keen interest within the cargo industry further accelerates our mission to expand everyone’s access to air transportation.”

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