Collins Aerospace’s Piccolo Elite UAS autopilot solution gets massive boost in speed and processing capacity

  • Next-generation solution increases longevity, ease of support and integration capabilities
  • Offers hardware-independent software for open architecture implementations
  • Builds on previous generation track record with over 1 million flight hours across multiple U.S. Department of Defense and commercial customers

CHICAGO (April 30, 2019) – Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), 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 at booth 731.

“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.

*AEROSONDE is a trademark of AAI Corporation, registered in the U.S. and other countries.

About Collins Aerospace

Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry. Collins Aerospace has the extensive capabilities, comprehensive portfolio and broad expertise to solve customers’ toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market. For more information, visit

About Raytheon Technologies

Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. With 195,000 employees and four industry-leading businesses ― Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense ― the company delivers solutions that push the boundaries in avionics, cybersecurity, directed energy, electric propulsion, hypersonics, and quantum physics. The company, formed in 2020 through the combination of Raytheon Company and the United Technologies Corporation aerospace businesses, is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

*AEROSONDE is a trademark of AAI Corporation, registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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