New Autonomous Tech Aims to Improve Oil Rig Landings


Sikorsky recently announced plans for updating its S-92 line of helicopters. They feature a number of new technologies focused on safety and maneuverability, but what makes these features unique is the industrial environment that inspired them.

More specifically, the two latest variations of the S-92 were configured for transporting workers and executives to and from oil rigs. A major enhancement to these choppers will be the first phase of Sikorsky’s MATRIX technology. This advanced computing platform offers a number of autonomous operations focused on improving helicopter landing and navigation.

This includes the SuperSearch feature that uses advanced algorithms to locate objects up to 30% faster than previous models. This allows the helicopter to avoid birds, drones, or flying debris that might not be picked up with the naked eye.

The Phase IV main gearbox is also a key upgrade, as it can run for over 500 nautical miles at helicopter speeds of 90 mph without oil from the primary lubrication system. Additionally, an updated General Electric engine enables the chopper to produce more power in higher altitudes and hotter temperatures.

Additional features include an enlarged door and cabin windows, as well as a new interior design focused on reducing weight. All of these features allow for a safer ride to oil rigs, which may be located in harsh environments.

From a production perspective, Sikorsky, which is a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, will leverage a common core configuration, allowing for customizations to be implemented more quickly and cost-effectively.

Current plans have initial availability set for 2022.

Image Credit: IEN

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