US Navy's MQ-4C Triton drone prepares for deployment in 2018

It just completed its first flight with updated software for features like collision avoidance.

Northrop Grumman

The last time we mentioned the Navy's long-range MQ-4C Triton drone was in 2013, and the project is still creeping towards eventual deployment. Northrop Grumman announced this week that it has completed formal lab testing, and also successfully flew for the first time with a software upgrade adding "Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), multi-aircraft control and additional Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) radar modes."

Once it's ready, this autonomous vehicle is intended for providing intelligence and recon during flights that can last up to 24 hours at a time, allowing it to monitor 1 million square miles of the ocean. The plan now is for the MQ-4C to enter "Early Operational Capability (EOC)" deployment next year.