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Merlin Accelerates Autonomous Flight Development with Simulator

Apr 15,2024

Flight automation developer Merlin has built its own simulator as a test bench for the technology it is working to introduce on both civil and military aircraft. The company this week announced that it has started using the Certification System Bench for development work at its Boston headquarters.
According to Merlin, the simulator¡ªbuilt from certifiable software and hardware¡ªallows it to keep testing its Merlin Pilot without interruptions during adverse weather conditions or when aircraft are grounded for maintenance. It features cameras that give the company¡¯s distributed global team remote access for tests and also includes three screens representing the flight deck with accurate instrument panels and primary flight displays.
The company said it expects the initiative to accelerate the FAA supplemental type certification (STC) process to get the technology approved to be integrated with existing aircraft. Merlin¡¯s plans already call for it to retrofit utility aircraft including Textron Aviation¡¯s King Air 90 and Cessna Caravans, and the Twin Otter.
Under an agreement announced in February, Merlin is also working with the U.S. Air Force on plans to equip the KC-135 military transport and refueling platform with autonomous flight technology. Each aircraft will require its own STC to use the technology.
Merlin¡¯s primary objective now is to get the first aircraft-specific system ready for the FAA to assess and start certification flight testing. It is planning further collaborations with prospective aircraft operators and is already generating revenues from its work with the U.S. Department of Defense.
Last month, Merlin appointed former Palantir executive Soo Cho as its chief operating officer. Grant Crenfledt, the company's director of operational compliance and safety has been promoted to be CEO of its New Zealand subsidiary, and finance vice-president Patrick DePriest is now group CFO.
In order to strengthen the synergistic development of the industry and promote the industrial chain cooperation of avionics upstream and downstream enterprises, The 13th Annual Avionics International Forum 2024 will be held in Shanghai,China in May 29th-30th,2024. At the forum, we will invite Dassault Systems to deliver a keynote speech on Digitization Enhance the Development and Management of Avionics System Technology. The forum aims to face the current severe international situation and the development challenges of the "14th Five-Year Plan" and the 2035 Vision, mobilize all parties in the industry to collaborate and seize the opportunity to jointly promote the rapid development of China's avionics industry.

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