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Collins Aerospace Systems unveils Piccolo Elite Autopilot for UAS


Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp., has launched a next-generation Piccolo Elite autopilot featuring advanced sensors, powerful processing upgrades and a new separated lift thrust take-off and landing (VTOL) controller for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The new Piccolo Elite system is being showcased at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Xponential, April 30 – May 2, 2019.


Collins unveils Piccolo Elite Autopilot for UAS Piccolo Elite Autopilot for UAS (Picture source: Collins)


“The Piccolo Elite upgrade will provide customers with a huge increase in processing power, longer hardware lifespan, easier support and more integration options to meet both government and commercial UAV needs well into the future,” said Matt Lendway, site general manager, Piccolo Autopilots and TASE Imaging Systems for Collins Aerospace.

The Piccolo flight management system, developed in the company’s Hood River, Oregon facility, consists of an air vehicle autopilot, a ground station, a simulation environment and operator interface software, supporting fully autonomous flight operations for small UAVs. This next iteration of Piccolo technology adopts a more open architecture that allows the system to be deployed in any type of qualified hardware environment, helping to reduce cost and allow for easier support and implementation onto more platforms.

The Piccolo family of systems have operated in over one million flight hours on a variety of UAV platforms such as the Arcturus UAV Jump 20 and T-20, Textron Systems Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System, Griffon Aerospace Outlaw, Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation TigerShark, PAE ISR Resolute Eagle and others operated by multiple U.S. Department of Defense and commercial customers.