X-47B Autonomous Flying Wing Hopes to Grow Up and Land on Aircraft Carriers Some Day

About 7,500 feet over California there's a small autonomous flying wing trying to prove that it can land, all by its lonesome, on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

The task is a harrowing one for human pilots, and the same appears true for artificial ones, although the X-47B is testing quite well, thank you very much, and is still in line with its 2013 target.

So what can this little robo flying wing do? CNET explains:

[F]lights saw the X-47B reach an altitude of 7,500 feet, up from the 5,000-foot accomplishment in its February debut. It flew as fast as 200 knots in the March 1 flight, which lasted 39 minutes, and up to 180 knots on March 4 over about 41 minutes. One of the results that pleased Northrop Grumman is that the flush-mounted air data system, an aspect of its stealthy, low-profile design, was able to accurately sense and communicate air speed.

Like it was said above, an aircraft carrier is the final 2013 goal, at which point the robots will have yet another notch in their already notch-filled belts. [CNET]