Former Tesla And Space X Engineers Developing Self-Flying Planes

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 14 Sep 2020 12:24
Former Tesla And Space X Engineers Developing Self-Flying PlanesFormer Tesla And Space X Engineers Developing Self-Flying PlanesReliable Robotics

Former Tesla and Space X engineers are developing self-flying planes and have already designed a cargo plane that can land on its own.

Personally, I’ve been on planes with some pretty shoddy landings – you know the budget airline type, where a trumpet plays when you land – so I’d be intrigued to see how a self-flying plane does it.

Successfully conducted by Reliable Robotics, the company has made history by creating its unmanned flights.


Check out footage of the recent test flight here:

Reliable Robotics conducted its first self-flying plane test flight last year using a Cessna 172 (C172), a four-seat, single-engine plane that is among the most common aircraft models in existence. The plane successfully took flight on its own and was airborne for 15 minutes before landing again at the same airport it left from.

This marked the first time a privately-funded company operated a passenger aeroplane of this type, with no pilot on board, over a populated region.


Speaking about the successful trial last year, Reliable Robotics co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Robert Rose said:

We spent the first portion of our flight test program focused on the C172. We thoroughly tested every aspect of our system in simulation and conducted rigorous safety checks before operating the aircraft without a pilot on board and are now proud to share what we’ve been working on.

By bringing advanced automation to aviation, we will deliver higher safety, reliability and convenience for cargo operators and eventually for passengers.

Reliable Robotics

Now, Reliable Robotics have seamlessly integrated its autonomous platform onto a Cessna 208 Caravan – a larger plane that’s often used for short-haul cargo deliveries and passenger flights. The plane is owned by FedEx and successfully completed its unmanned flight in June this year.


Rose created Reliable Robotics in 2017 alongside fellow Space X veteran Juerg Frefel. To date, the company has brought in $33.5 billion in funding to support the project, Business Insider reports.

Speaking about creating self-flying planes, as per Bloomberg, Rose said:

When I first started taking flying lessons myself, my first thought was, why isn’t this automated? I worked on autonomous rockets and spacecraft and cars. Aviation is so much more well understood compared to driving.

Reliable Robotics

This isn’t the only flying object to be making headlines in the tech world recently. Last month, Japanese start-up company SkyDrive successfully conducted a test run of its ‘flying car’.

The test run took place on Tuesday, August 25, at Toyota Test Field’s 10,000-square-metre grounds. The vehicle, known as the SD-03, which is said to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) model, stayed airborne for four minutes.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Technology, Aeroplanes, Reliable Robotics, Self-flying plane, Space X, Tesla


BusinessWire and 1 other
  1. BusinessWire

    Reliable Robotics Makes Aviation History with First Flights of Autonomous Passenger Airplanes Over Populated Regions

  2. Business Insider

    An aviation firm run by former Tesla and SpaceX engineers is developing self-flying planes and just taught a cargo plane how to land on its own