The California company Skyryse conducted a demonstration flight of a helicopter converted to use an unmanned control system. It is called the Skyryse Flight Stack and can be installed on any small civilian helicopter. This is its advantage over drones, which are initially designed to work without human intervention.
In the industry of creating autonomous flying machines, and not only flying machines, today two branches of development dominate. Companies like Volocopter, Uber, etc., are designing transport robots from the ground up with the AI pilot needing the right vehicle. For example, without wide viewing windows that are easy to replace with sensors, and also without a separate seat for the pilot - all electronics are located inside the hull, and the space is useful for commercial purposes.
The second branch offers fast, simple and, importantly, reversible upgrades to existing vehicles. In the case of Skyryse, this was the Robinson R-44 helicopter, which after the installation of attachments received its own name "Luna". The vehicle is equipped with sensors for orientation in space and for monitoring the situation, as well as actuators for controlling the helicopter through the same levers and buttons that the human pilot uses.
Luna successfully completed a series of flights, albeit under the supervision of an on-board instructor. The system controls the helicopter according to the rules of the US Federal Aviation Administration, paves the way with current maps and checks against data from automatic ground stations, such as weather towers, which measure the strength and speed of the wind. In the future, similar systems can be installed on any other helicopter model, except for highly specialized ones.