Russian Helicopters Commissions AI-Controlled Chopper Study

Russian Helicopters will study the possibility of developing an AI-controlled chopper based on the helicopter utility rotorcraft, Interfax revealed.

The 24 million-ruble ($325,000) study commissioned by the company’s design bureau will explore the possibility and viability of conducting AI-controlled autonomous flight. The 2021-22 research will also help select the “optimal software architecture for the AI ​​control system.”

AI-Controlled Cockpit

According to documents accessed by the news agency, the AI system must identify objects and obstacles during flight to avoid collisions. Additionally, it should independently create a flight trajectory for the helicopter, “taking into account changing conditions – weather conditions, movement of other aircraft.”

“The result of research work should be the creation of an autopilot with artificial intelligence and software on mobile devices for setting flight scenarios.”

Possible Features

The revelation comes a few months after a senior Russian Helicopters executive disclosed that the company was considering building an AI-controlled helicopter similar to the Ka-226 weighing around one thousand kilograms (2,200 pounds).

Marketing and business development director at Russian Helicopters, Oleg Landin, previously revealed that the company was considering developing an autonomous helicopter capable of lifting around 200 kilograms (440 pounds) initially and increasing the capacity to a ton (907 kg or 2,000 pounds) later.

The Ka-226 is a twin-turbine utility rotorcraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 3.6 tons (3,266 kg/7,200 lbs). The helicopter is designed for search and rescue, medivac, disaster relief, policing, fire fighting, and patrol.


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