Marines to Test Technology that Allows Fully Autonomous Flight for Helicopters


AuroraManassas, VA —The Office of Naval Research (ONR) will conduct a final demonstration of Aurora’s Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Urban Training Center, as the program moves to the Marine Corps for experimentation and potential acquisition.

AACUS enables any rotary-wing aircraft to fly completely autonomously. It allows a Marine in the field to easily request supplies even to austere or dangerous environments. Those requests can be made intuitively and quickly from a hand-held tablet, without prior training required. The Dec. 13 demonstration will feature a UH-1 “Huey” flying autonomously on multiple missions.

“AACUS gives revolutionary capability to our fleet and force,” said Dennis Baker, AACUS program officer. “It can be used as a pilot aid in degraded visual environments, or allow fully autonomous flights in contested environments, keeping our pilots out of harm’s way.”

About Aurora Flight Sciences:

Aurora Flight Sciences, A Boeing Company is an innovative technology company which strives to create smarter aircraft through the development of versatile and intuitive autonomous systems. Operating at the intersection of technology and robotic aviation, Aurora leverages the power of autonomy to make manned and unmanned flight safer and more efficient. Headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, Aurora has more than 550 employees and operates in six locations, including research and development centers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Luzern, Switzerland; manufacturing facilities in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Columbus, Mississippi; and offices in Dayton, Ohio, and Mountain View, California. To view recent press releases and for more about Aurora please visit our website at

About the Office of Naval Research:

The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 55 countries, 634 institutions of higher learning and nonprofit institutions, and more than 960 industry partners. ONR, through its commands, including headquarters, ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., employs more than 3,800 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.

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