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Northrop Grumman Wins DARPA Contract to Develop AI Assistants for Helicopter Pilots

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Northrop Grumman Wins DARPA Contract to Develop AI Assistants for Helicopter Pilots

Northrop Grumman announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency through its Perceptually-enabled Task Guidance program to develop a prototype artificial intelligence assistant. The requirement is for a prototype to be embedded in an augmented reality headset to help rotary pilots perform expected and unexpected tasks, Northrop said Tuesday.

Erin Cherry, Northrop’s senior autonomy program manager, said the effort seeks to introduce technological solutions that would broaden the pilot’s skillset. The prototype is envisioned to teach new tasks, aid in the recognition and reduction of errors, improve task completion time and help prevent catastrophic events, she added.

The contract will see the company partnering with the University of Central Florida in developing an Operator and Context Adaptive Reasoning Intuitive Assistant that will support UH-60 Blackhawk pilots, who fly using visual and instrumented flight, in different weather conditions, day or night.

Northrop Grumman said that rotorcraft aircrews face numerous risks when flying in close proximity to buildings, terrain, people and from the threat of adversary radar systems. Currently, pilots rely on simple warning systems to avoid collisions, such as auditory alerts to increase altitude.

The aerospace company said that such basic collision and threat warning systems are inadequate for certain situations while imposing unanticipated cognitive burdens on the pilot.

Meanwhile, DARPA’s PTG program aims to develop AI technologies to help users perform complex mental and physical tasks. The goal is to provide pilots with “AI assistants” through the use of body-worn sensors that allow the AI to observe what the user perceives and know what the user knows, Northrop said.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: artificial intelligence Blackhawk DARPA Defense and Intelligence Erin Cherry Northrop Grumman OCARINA Operator and Context Adaptive Reasoning Intuitive Assistant University of Central Florida