The U.S. Navy has successfully demonstrated the Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System (AACUS), which allows current, full-size helicopters to be remotely controlled by a tablet device. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, USN, chief of naval research, recently revealed that two young Marines at Quantico, Virginia, were able to land a full-size helicopter autonomously on an unprepared landing site with just one touch on a mini-tablet. Mary “Misty” Cummings, the AACUS program manager, has described AACUS as a platform agnostic package of sensors and control technology, rather than a robotic helicopter platform. It will fit any vertical take-off and landing aircraft in the military fleet, making even decades-old aircraft such as the CH-47 Chinook or CH-53 Sea Stallion autonomous.
Watch the Office of Naval Research demonstrate the AACUS in this video: