Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Pilotless Airliner no longer unthinkable

page: 1
1

log in

join

posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 09:44 AM
link   
David Learmount, over at Flight has a great article about how the remotely piloted airliner is no longer as far away as once thought. It's not going to be here in a year or two, but it's rapidly approaching the point where it's inevitable.

The indicators? Automation has reached the point where pilots can barely keep up with it. The most recent accidents have almost all been CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) by a pilot who couldn't keep up with the airplane, didn't recognize what the airplane was telling him, or didn't believe it.

The biggest obstacle at this point is the ATC system in use around the world. It's not modern enough to be able to get an automated aircraft from point A to point B. However, Europe is going to be implementing SESAR (Single European ATM Research), and the US NextGen ATM, and once they're up and running, controllers will be there to ensure nothing happens, instead of to control aircraft.

We're approaching interesting times in the aviation world, and the thinking of his article is that by 2030 we'll see the end of human driven systems in commercial aviation.


The pilotless airliner is no longer unthinkable. It is just a matter of time before airliners have one pilot, and soon after that they will have none.
The first one-pilot commercial air transport aircraft will be freighters, and that sector will almost certainly blaze the trail to the pilotless passenger aircraft. That will be a cockpitless airliner in which first class passengers will occupy the window seats at the sharp end.
The aircraft might have a pilot standing by for emergencies, but s/he will be back at base.
What are the indicators?
Airliners are already highly automated, and pilots are increasingly being told not to interfere with the automation. Meanwhile it is already accepted – or even status quo – that unmanned autonomous or remotely piloted air vehicles will take over many of the military and general aviation tasks now performed by aircraft with a cockpit.

flightglobal.rbiblogs.co.uk...




posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 09:54 AM
link   
interesting .. no way I'd ever trust an automated aircraft though .



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:01 AM
link   
reply to post by Expat888
 


Why? It can react far quicker to any given situation and is unlikely to make basic errors for which human pilots are quite well known for. The vast majority of recent air crashes have, at their heart, been as a result of human error.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:18 AM
link   
Humans dont "reboot" or "crash" (in a software way) so id rather stick with a meatbag at the controls, instead of a computer.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:20 AM
link   
reply to post by Biigs
 


Resiliency can be built into a system which negates that - the same reason that planes have two Pilots in fact, in case one dies or has a medical episode. Essentially, you're worried about the same thing.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:20 AM
link   
reply to post by Zaphod58
 


I'd hop onto a DC-3 way before I would trust a aircraft that can be hacked. Or worse yet, just have a hard drive crash...with emphasis on the crash.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:23 AM
link   
reply to post by TDawgRex
 


What would make a pilot less aircraft any more hackable? Modern aircraft are more or less all automated anyway.

And why do you think it would be designed so that a simple HD failure would bring the aircraft down?

Simple fear, is what this is. For the record, I would welcome automated cars, especially on the motorways. There are systems in development now which would essentially eradicate high speed accidents because most, of not all, are the result of human error.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:27 AM
link   
reply to post by stumason
 


As some one who knows more about computers than i do humans.

I still side with the humans.

Ive seen the BEST computers crash, lose power, fault this that or the other. So no thanks, also, a computer can come around and say hello and explain stuff to the passengers. Can you imagine a recorded voice coming over the speakers giving you the local time and stuff? pish!



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:33 AM
link   
reply to post by Biigs
 


What you're saying is really quite moot, given that modern airliners ARE flown by computers now.

If they were so prone to failure, you'd be seeing them drop out the sky on a regular basis, because you cannot fly a modern airliner like the Dreamliner or A380 without the computer.

The human is really only there to provide reassurance to the human passengers and to respond in an emergency, but there is no reason why an airliner could not take off, fly itself and land at a destination without a human so much as touching the controls, provided it had a reasonably sophisticated autopilot.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:35 AM
link   
reply to post by TDawgRex
 


Do you know what's in an ideal cockpit? A pilot and a dog. The pilots there to feed the dog and the dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches anything!


As much as I love flying and everything to do with it, the future of aviation is with pilotless planes. It's happening with the military and it will happen with commercial planes aswell. Pilots 'eventually' can make a lot of money flying planes and without them they cut costs also could probably fly more due to no crew rest times etc.

You could say that computers crash, but so do pilots. Computers don't get fatigued, and can make calculations quicker than humans.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:35 AM
link   
reply to post by Biigs
 


The most likely scenario is described in the article. You have an airline that has 500 aircraft, with 10-15 pilots on duty at any given time in the duty room. If there is a problem, an alarm sounds, and the pilot takes over and flies the aircraft remotely, like with the Predator or other modern UAVs. He would also have access to a full engineering crew that could troubleshoot the problem remotely.

It's not just a case of turning the aircraft loose and ignoring it. The ready room would have screens up, and control stations for all the aircraft that were currently in the air, so they would be constantly monitored during their flights.

As for the "recorded voice" there is still a crew on board. You would have a Purser who is the Aircraft Commander, with a full crew of flight attendants. They would make the announcements, and deal with any passenger issues. If you really wanted to be safe, give the Purser basic flight instruction, such as how to land, or how to use the radio and talk to the pilot on the ground.
edit on 8/21/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:41 AM
link   
reply to post by stumason
 


That's true they basically do the flying for themselves now anyway, with the systems implemented it wouldn't take that much to convert them over I wouldn't think.

There was a test aircraft called 'the flying test bed' In Great Britain that was testing pilotless flying for a passenger aircraft. They set up different obstacles for the aircraft to detect and avoid.

The greatest problem they would encounter is troubles with ATC, but If they can sense and avoid other aircraft then they could overcome it.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:43 AM
link   
reply to post by stumason
 


There's a ton of things that can go wrong. The more moving parts, the more things that can and will go wrong. Human pilots are not perfect, but they have one thing a self piloting airplane does not have: Intuition. Unlike humans, the plane will "think" (computer) in a very cold fashion, not able to go beyond what it's told when it detects somethings wrong. There's been a few reports over the years where an airplane on autopilot told the pilots something totally wrong. And if the pilots would have listened to the airplane, the passengers and crew would be dead.

Now, say you got some faulty equipment onboard that gives the plane faulty info. What happens? The plane will do what it's programmed to do and that's not a good thing when you don't have the correct information at hand. (Same for pilots, but there's typically two that can coordinate to avert disaster.)

It's all fun and games before the plane gets hit by lightening and becomes self aware and decides that humans are a plague, plummeting itself into the ocean/ground/mountain killing everyone.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 10:56 AM
link   
reply to post by Zaphod58
 

I can give a really good example of a situation where a human pilot outperformed even the most capable computer - US Airways Flight 1549.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 11:07 AM
link   
reply to post by F4guy
 


He a bit a bunch of geese, which every other pilot has thus far managed to avoid and landed, rather fortuitously, in a river rather than the ocean beyond, with smaller swells which made the ditching much easier. He got lucky and yes, he got awarded for it, but it could have easily have gone totally tits.

In fact, had it not been for the fly-by-wire nature of the Airbus in question, it would have been questionable whether he would have been able to fly it all, much less ditch it. The aircraft's computers kept it level and on course while the Human crew scrambled to figure out what was going on and what to do about it.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 11:19 AM
link   
reply to post by F4guy
 


It's something like 80% of crashes are due to pilot error and most of the rest are maintenance faults. There's always going to be things like flight 1549 which say pilots should be in control but then you have other cases like OZ214. It's basically about managing risk and even though air transportation is still the most safest form of transport when a plane does go down its usually a big thing. There is going to be crashes, but if you could reduce that figure by 80% wouldn't you want to do it?



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 01:48 PM
link   

Originally posted by Expat888
interesting .. no way I'd ever trust an automated aircraft though .
Well, you trust doctors and those are former med students.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 04:06 PM
link   
If you take the human-factor out of the equation, it certainly makes personal flying vehicles seem like a more attainable fantasy..






top topics



 
1

log in

join