WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin says it has been tapped by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research to develop autonomous technology for unmanned VTOL aircraft.
As envisaged, the technology for unmanned vertical takeoff and landing aircraft would allow a human operator to interact with the system at a high level, while low-level control would be automated.
"This contract provides our team the opportunity to demonstrate how far we can expand the technology envelope," said Roger Il Grande, director of Airborne Systems for Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Sensors business.
"Some of our cutting-edge technology has already been demonstrated on K-MAX for the Army's Autonomous Technologies for Unmanned Air System program, and is now deployed with the Marine Corps on the aircraft in Afghanistan."
The contract is worth $13.5 million.
During the initial, 18-month phase of the program, Lockheed and its team will demonstrate the capabilities of its Open-Architecture Planning and Trajectory Intelligence for Managing Unmanned Systems architecture.