DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has awarded three contracts for its Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program as part of its process to increase automation in aircraft cockpits.

DARPA awarded three contracts for its Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program. Source: DARPADARPA awarded three contracts for its Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program. Source: DARPAThe ALIAS program aims to include a tailorable, drop-in and removable kit that would enable high levels of automation in existing aircraft and reduce the number of onboard crew. It also aims to leverage recent advances in pilot technology to refocus and shift pilot workloads, complement mission performance and improve overall safety.

DARPA says it will focus on three technology areas for Phase 1 of ALIAS:

  • Development of interfaces between new automation systems and existing aircraft that allow for a smooth transition
  • Knowledge acquisition on aircraft operations, to support quick adaptation of the ALIAS toolkit across different aircraft
  • Human-machine interfaces that would enable high-level human supervision instead of requiring pilots' constant responsibility over lower-level flight maintenance tasks.

Prime contracts were awarded to Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

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