NASA SIO Demonstration
The autonomous aviation startup will provide detect-and-avoid and perception systems
San Francisco, CA – September 06, 2018: Xwing, an autonomous aviation company, announces a partnership agreement with Bell, a Textron Inc. company, to develop and test unmanned aircraft technology.
Xwing will team up with Bell, Textron Systems, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) to demonstrate end-to-end commercial mission operations part of NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) project. With the end-goal of enabling certification, the focus is on tackling the key remaining challenges that prevent routine commercial unmanned aircraft operations. Flight demonstrations are planned for 2020. Early applications include cargo transport missions for medical facilities, disaster relief and offshore platform supply.
“Some of the key technologies involved here represent a significant step to the safe and widespread commercialization of autonomous cargo- and passenger-carrying VTOL aircraft. Xwing is excited to work with Bell, with the support of NASA and the FAA, to accelerate the path to certification of these systems.” said Marc Piette, Xwing’s founder and CEO.
For the NASA SIO demonstrator vehicle, Xwing will be providing integrated Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) and perception technology to enable detection and geolocalization of hazards through sensor fusion on board the vehicle. Bell will lead the development and systems integration of the Autonomous Pod Transport 70 (APT70) vehicle. Textron Systems will supply Command-and-Control (C2) technology, and CASA will provide weather avoidance technology.
The UAS in the NAS project falls under the Integrated Aviation Systems Program office managed at NASA Headquarters in Washington by the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, manages both the project and this solicitation and selection for the SIO demonstration.