BAE Systems has begun to test unmanned aircraft technologies in support of an industry-led effort to study how autonomous air vehicles can integrate into the U.K.’s airspace.
BAE said Tuesday it uses a Jetstream 31 aircraft as a flying test bed for the ongoing trials at the company’s military aircraft engineering and manufacturing hub in Warton, England.
The testing platform is built to fly itself and accommodate pilots on board who could take control of aircraft operation at anytime.
BAE aims to conduct up to 17 company-funded test flights to evaluate the capacity and maturity of satellite communications-controlled autonomous air technologies as well as develop sensing technologies for aircraft and cloud avoidance with the use of a camera.
“Our priority as always is to demonstrate the safe and effective operation of autonomous systems and together with NATS we are working towards the possibility of flying our own unmanned systems in a highly controlled environment in the UK,” said Maureen Mccue, BAE Systems head of research and technology for the military aircraft and information business.