Merlin Labs will demonstrate a company-developed autonomous flight control system under a contract from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Merlin said Wednesday the $1 million FAA award requires the company to conduct the initial testing phase for the Merlin Pilot with the help of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Everts Air Cargo.
Flight trials are set to begin this quarter and will include testing the experimental system via three test routes originating from the FAA designated UAS Alaska test site.
Safety pilots will be used during the demo to monitor the system, which is touted as the first non-human piloted air cargo network to be integrated into the U.S. National Airspace System.
The trials are part of the company’s plan to use Merlin Pilot-augmented aircraft to deliver needed supplies to underserved rural areas in Alaska.
Merlin used the funds from the $105 million financing it secured in July 2022 to develop the system’s hardware and software.