#56 Robert Rose, Reliable Robotics: Exploring the future of autonomy in aviation

#56 Robert Rose, Reliable Robotics: Exploring the future of autonomy in aviation

Welcome back to The Vertical Space and our conversation with Robert Rose, co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics.

This is a conversation about autonomy. We discussed the arc of automation and, what evolved in the conversation, the arc of safety in aviation from its early days to today. You'll notice how Robert will closely and consistently link autonomy to safety in the beginning, throughout and at the end of the conversation; an irrefutable argument. He essentially says autonomy is going to happen so get used to it. But he makes the hard medicine taste just a bit better by tying the key arguments to safety. 

We spend a bit of time on the motivation for pursuing autonomous flight by segment; GA, Part 135/121 with a safety imperative for automation being more required in the former than in the latter. After a few attempts, we eventually get to other reasons why autonomy is needed in addition to, and beyond the safety case. As we've discussed many times the podcasts, we discussed the need for autonomy for many of the advanced air mobility business models to scale, and to meet their financial projections.

Robert discusses the autonomous capabilities of Reliable Robotics, and as Robert says, what makes them unique is their ground up designs for automation and certification, where it's more difficult for others to go back and design for automation if that wasn't the original intention. We spent a lot of time discussing the processes required to certify automation systems, and get into a really interesting discussion around the design of their air to air radar, it's value, market size, and why build it on their own versus purchasing off the shelf radar and whether or not it's core to their autonomy focus or perhaps a distraction to that focus. He wraps up his talk with great advice to entrepreneurs. 

06:13 Robert's Opinions on Autonomy
11:11 History of Automation in Aviation
18:10 The Motivation for Pursuing Autonomy in Different Aviation Segments
23:43 The Safety Case for Automation
27:47 How Reliable Robotics is Different Than Current Remotely Operated Military UAS
36:39 Convincing the Regulators
43:51 Certification Case Study: The Autoland System
47:00 Software Behind Autonomy and Addressing Unforeseen Situations
49:20 Certification Process and Avoiding FAA Denials
51:48 Market Potential and Business Model for Autonomous Aircraft
01:01:13 Developing In-house Radar Capability
01:10:23 The Role of Primary Surveillance Radar in Airspace Integration


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