Airbus Look Towards AI Development For Pilot-less Aircraft

/ 5 years ago

airbus plane

Airbus reveals development of AI to remove the pilot from flying

While the auto-pilot does a lot of work on aeroplanes, there are still some key components. Namely the pilot, co-pilot and sometimes a flight engineer. While human input is still a major factor, particularly in smaller private aircraft, on commercial flights the auto-pilot does most of the ‘day-to-day’ operations.

Currently, regulations do still require some traditional formalities. For example, pilots must still conduct the take-off and landing. While the auto-pilot is technically capable of both the industry, for the moment, still prefers the human touch.

Airbus has, however, revealed that they are firmly in pursuit of a fully automated system to remove pilots from the equation almost completely. In a report via the Independent, the plans to develop the AI is based on a potential cost-cutting implementation. It is, however, hard to overlook the whole ‘pilot-error’ issue.

In related news, we recently saw how a drone had collided with a commercial plane. Fortunately, the impact wasn’t serious.

airbus plane

Could it work?

The short answer is yes. As above, while relying on some human input, auto-pilots are generally very good. Modern planes even run on whats referred to as a ‘fly-by-wire’ system. In this, the auto-pilot tends to make a lot of the decisions automatically. Modern aircraft also have the ability to transmit data in real time to tech support centres. Therefore, any incidents which occur can be evaluated in a flight simulator style analysis.

Given that we’re only just warming to the possibility of driverless cars, while AI flying planes might be a reality, I suspect it will be a long time before it is adopted. Despite the human-error factor, I think we all like the idea that there is a human being at least monitoring it. While auto-pilots are not infallible, there has been a number of incidents which occurred directly because the pilots didn’t trust it. While there may not be a need for a pilot in the cockpit, there would surely still need to be some form of expert.

What do you think? Are AI pilots inevitable? How comfortable would you feel knowing that an AI was in charge? – Let us know in the comments!



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