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WOULD you fly in an airliner knowing there were no pilots in the cockpit? This is no mere hypothetical question. The US Federal Aviation Administration this month kicked off what could be the first step in a journey towards the full automation of the airliners we all travel on.
The goal on both sides of the Atlantic is to allow UAVs to share civilian airspace, rather than clearing a section of airspace for every UAV flight, as happens now.
If they are to share civilian airspace, uncrewed planes will need to be able to sense the presence of other aircraft and take evasive action. Air traffic controllers would also need robust ways to manage flocks of UAVs - whose remote pilots may be hundreds of kilometres away.
"The cargo airlines want very much to lose their pilots. The money that would be saved in salary and benefits, including retirement and healthcare costs, is pretty staggering," says Mary Cummings
"But what happens in unpredictable circumstances? Human creativity can avert serious problems that have never arisen before." And while UAVs will have a remote pilot, "what happens if the wireless link to the pilot gets lost?" he asks.
The kind of artificial intelligence that would be required to fully automate commercial aviation today is not far out of hand. Certain aircraft, the B-2 for example, require three onboard control computers just to keep it stable. I predict that it will take only a few more years before the first completely automated commercial aircraft prototype will be ready to roll out of its hangar. The main issue here, however, is neither the technology available for aircraft nor the task of preparing airports for the change, for an ideal design would not require anything special to be modified in airports, but a more social ease. The fact is that even if Boeing came out with a line of fully automated commercial aircraft, no matter how much they guaranteed its safety, no airline would be ready to invest in it for the simple fact that few passengers would feel safe traveling in one of these planes, even if their fears are unbiased.
"The cargo airlines want very much to lose their pilots. The money that would be saved in salary and benefits, including retirement and healthcare costs, is pretty staggering,"
Originally posted by fixer1967
This is just great. Now terrorist will not have to come to the US to crash planes into building. They can do it by remote control from the other side of the world.
Do not bother telling me the safe guards that will be in place because sooner or later they WILL find a way around them.
Iraqi insurgents hacked Predator drone feeds, U.S. official indicates
December 17, 2009
This will not happen on civilian flights ever.As it is a lot of planes are already automated to an extent where the pilots are there to monitor systems but that is the limit..