Reliable Robotics partnership seeks to advance autonomous aircraft

By Roger Hailey

Reliable Robotics aircraft. Photo: Reliable Robotics

US aviation automation firm Reliable Robotics has teamed up with Vantis in North Dakota to advance uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS).

The joint agreement for repeatable, scalable and economically viable UAS supports the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s participation in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) BEYOND program for UAS.

“This is an exciting and mutually beneficial partnership,” said Trevor Woods, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), which administers Vantis. “Both Vantis and Reliable Robotics are working towards expanding the capabilities of large UAS operations.”

Reliable Robotics was founded in 2017, and within an 18-month period, flew an uncrewed Cessna 172 over a populated area in controlled airspace.

The company demonstrated remote piloting from its control centre in 2021, and is currently working towards certification of its remotely operated aircraft system on a popular cargo aircraft, the Cessna 208 Caravan.

In January, Reliable Robotics announced a new cargo airline led by industry veterans.

“We have a long-standing relationship with NPUASTS and share a vision of enabling UAS and remotely piloted operations at scale across North Dakota,“ said Robert Rose, co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics.

Vantis has received a total of $48m in funding from North Dakota’s state legislature to build a first-of-its-kind statewide UAS network for commercial use.

Reliable Robotics is working with NPUASTS to establish the Concept of Operations for UAS using the Vantis system.

“North Dakota has invested in the creation and build-out of Vantis in order to enable commercial UAS flights that are widespread and commonplace,” said Jim Cieplak, program manager of Vantis. 

“Our collaboration with Reliable Robotics will build towards that goal and prove the viability of Vantis in commercial use cases.”

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