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Autonomous flight company Merlin opens new operations centre in New Zealand

Merlin, a company developing safe, autonomous flight technology for fixed-wing aircraft, today announced the opening of its centre for operations in Kerikeri, New Zealand. The Merlin New Zealand facility in the Bay of Islands includes an aircraft hangar, maintenance workshops, and office space.

“The primary focus in New Zealand is the advanced development of Merlin technology and certification activities,” said the company in a press release. “When possible, this facility is also available to support broader New Zealand aerospace activities, including a recent New Zealand Defence Force parachute training school deployment to the region. Additionally, Merlin’s first test aircraft were deployed in recent weeks to assist in the regional flood relief efforts, showcasing Merlin’s commitment to supporting the community in which it works while simultaneously advancing its technical capabilities

“With the opening of this facility, Merlin is now equipped with a dedicated test environment to support further technological development and certification activities of its New Zealand-based Cessna Caravans that underpin the capability, safety, and effectiveness of its autonomous flight technology,” said the press release.  “Merlin has also partnered with Freightways New Zealand to deliver freight to northern New Zealand, creating a multi-purpose facility that provides substantial and invaluable first-hand experience in freight carrier operations.

“Putting regional facilities in place enables Merlin to meticulously evaluate its equipment and technology. The testing completed in New Zealand and the corresponding learnings will guide future development decisions to be implemented worldwide, ensuring in-air operability and certification with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA). This announcement follows Merlin’s recent achievement, Stage of Involvement (SOI) 1, with the CAA announced on May 15th.”

To date, Merlin has conducted over 500 autonomous flights.

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(Image: Merlin)

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