Lockheed Martin is responsible for some of the biggest technological leaps in aviation the world over, and their latest innovation comes in the form of autonomous helicopters and drone systems designed to combat increasingly intense wildfires in the American West and Southeast. Their unique system works by using a quadcopter drone called the Indigo to survey the potential threatened area with infrared optics, then passes along coordinates to the K-MAX, a cargo helicopter that has been re-engineered to accommodate an autonomous flying system. The K-MAX then fills its reservoir from a body of water and pilots itself over the blaze, releasing the water its carrying once it has arrived over the coordinates set by the Indigo. In addition to the firefighting system, Lockheed has also developed a throwable drone plane which can spot and mark individuals trapped near disaster areas and dispatch an autonomous rescue helicopter to find them.
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