Sikorsky Explains How It's Leveraging Connected Technology

By Paula Bernier August 19, 2015

When you think about flying objects and the IoT movement, thoughts tend to turn toward the rise of drones. But Sikorsky Aircraft is leveraging connected technology to make its helicopters more cost-efficient, effective, and safer.

In his keynote speech yesterday at IoT Evolution Expo, the company’s Simon Gharibian explained how ­– and he put out a request to the industry for rugged wireless sensors and for great news ideas.

Sikorsky is the company behind the popular Black Hawk helicopter, but it offers an array of models.

Whatever the model or supplier, Gharibian said all helicopters are slow, expensive, and high risk to operate relative to jets. Helicopters are three times more expensive to operate than jets, and 11 times more likely to get into accidents – in part because they are frequently used in high-risk endeavors such as search and rescue. He also mentioned that helicopters are vibration machines, which wears out their parts, their pilots, and passengers.

The company is working to improve the situation relating to all of the above, but it’s particularly focused on three areas of innovation, which include speed, autonomy, and intelligence (Gharibian’s area of work). Sikorsky has a new Raider helicopter that is 70 percent faster than the average helicopter. It’s working on automating more of the maneuvers of its craft. And its efforts related to intelligence involve leveraging sensors and the data coming off of them to present pilots with key data via an iPad application rather than on paper for ease of use.

Image via Shutterstock

He also talked about how technology can be used to figure out when is the optimal time – in terms of both safety and cost – to replace parts on a particular craft.

Sikorsky recently launched what it calls The Entrepreneurial Challenge, for which there is a $25,000 cash prize. He invited the IoT Evolution Expo audience to show the company what they have to offer to enable it to further improve its business.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Executive Editor, TMC

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