Merlin Labs Raises $105 Million to Fill the Pilot Shortage by Robotizing Airplanes

  • US Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules
  • Flight Control System Allows an Aircraft to Take off and Land Automatically

U.S. Air Force C-130J Aircraft

The Boston-based startup has won $105 million in fresh funding, impressing big-name investors including Scottish firm Bailey Gifford with a project to robotize the US Air Force’s workhorse C-130J Super Hercules transport planes, which the company called publicly revealing for the first time, according to Business News.

The initial product from Merlin Labs, according to CEO Matthew George, will be the first commercially available flight control system that allows an aircraft to take off and land automatically along a pre-programmed route. The plane will also have artificial intelligence features, such as the capability to understand and follow radio orders from fast-moving air traffic controllers.

However, the company is not yet attempting to equip jets with sensors that would automatically detect obstructions on the ground or other aircraft in the air, therefore pilots will still be required to be on board.

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