March 20, 2024

Rotor Technologies and Robinson Helicopter Company Collaborate on Uncrewed Helicopter Technology

Rotor Newsroom

Rotor Technologies, Inc. and Robinson Helicopter Company jointly displayed the R550X, an uncrewed helicopter based on the Robinson R44 Raven II, at Helicopter Association International's (HAI) Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California.

The R550X is the first production uncrewed aircraft to be built on a Robinson platform. Capable of lifting heavy loads up to 1,200 pounds (550 kilograms) with no pilot onboard, the R550X is designed to conduct agricultural, utility, maritime, and cargo operations without exposing pilots to hazardous flight environments.

The Spirit of New Hampshire, a static prototype of the R550X that was recently dedicated by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, was on display at Heli-Expo from February 27 to February 29, 2024, alongside a Robinson R66 police helicopter. Visitors interacted with the R550X’s synthetic vision, camera, and LIDAR systems, which offer 360-degree situational awareness even at night and in low-visibility conditions. 

Heli-Expo 2024 marked a major leadership transition for Robinson Helicopter Company, with David Smith named as the company’s new president and CEO. Smith is committed to the company’s legacy of innovation and growth. With his experience and fresh perspective, he plans to continue the culture of excellence and collaboration, driving the company forward with new product development initiatives, and expanded manufacturing capabilities. Smith recognizes the importance of staying at the forefront of technological advancements like Rotor’s.

“With a 50-year legacy of success, I am honored to lead the company into the next 50 years of vertical flight,” said Smith. “I look forward to working with the more than 400 service centers and dealers and the more than 1,100 employees of RHC as we pursue new products, markets, partnerships, and technologies.”

Robinson CEO David Smith (left) and Rotor CEO Hector Xu (right) at Heli-Expo

The R550X is an important project for Robinson’s customers and the future of light helicopters, where the adoption of digital systems and higher levels of automation will drive safety, mission capability, and scalability. At Heli-Expo, Rotor CEO Hector Xu and Smith celebrated milestones in the R550X program and plans to begin low-rate production.

“David and I share a common product vision,” said Xu. “Our collaboration will combine Rotor’s technology with Robinson’s dynamic and scalable supply chain to deliver the world’s most capable commercial uncrewed VTOL.” 

The Spirit of New Hampshire will continue its North American tour, with displays planned at AUVSI Xponential from April 22, 2024, in San Diego, CA (Booth 5325) and at VFS Forum 80 from May 7, 2024, in Montréal, Canada.

About Rotor

Rotor Technologies, Inc. (“Rotor”) is a developer of autonomous vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Rotor’s mission is to make vertical aviation radically safer and more accessible using autonomy. Rotor’s R550X is an uncrewed helicopter, based on the Robinson R44, that can be operated safely at night and low visibility for dull, dirty, and dangerous missions without an onboard pilot. With a payload capacity of 1,212 lbs (550 kg), the R550X is an ideal platform for aerial firefighting, crop dusting, aerial work, and cargo delivery. All of Rotor’s aircraft are compatible with Cloudpilot, Rotor’s on-demand piloting service that delivers autonomous flight capabilities via satellite and wireless connectivity. For more information visit

About Robinson

For more than 50 years, Robinson Helicopter Company has been at the forefront of the helicopter industry by delivering safety-enhancing technologies, including OEM-designed crash-resistant fuel cells, 4K cockpit video cameras, autopilot systems, and NVG-compatible cockpits. Robinson is committed to developing, manufacturing, and supporting the most reliable and efficient helicopters in the industry. For additional information, visit

Published On
March 20, 2024
About Rotor

Rotor develops autonomous vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft to make vertical flight radically safer and more accessible.

Learn more about Rotor.