Which aircraft does a new pilot fly
Boeing wants to let planes fly without a pilot
It will be two more weeks before the Paris Le Bourget Air Show starts. But Boeing apparently did not want to wait with this announcement: The American aircraft manufacturer wants to advance the pilotless cockpit in commercial aircraft with a new project. The first tests in the simulator will begin this year, says development chief Mike Sinnett.
In the coming year, "some kind of artificial intelligence will fly an airplane and make decisions that pilots have to make," said Sinnet, according to media reports. In light of the lack of pilots, this technology is currently important, according to the Boeing manager. Nothing is really mature yet. “We don't really have a clue where this is going yet,” says Sinnet. "But we are currently working on it and developing appropriate algorithms." The whole thing is not as unrealistic as it might sound. After all, you can already buy drones for $ 1,000 that can do amazing things.
Certification authorities not yet prepared
Another obstacle to the new technology is that the certification authorities themselves are not really clear about the criteria according to which technology is to be judged that is responsible for the control of commercial aircraft. According to Sinnett, artificial intelligence should also be able to think “humanly” - as an example, the Boeing manager cited the case of the “miracle of the Hudson”, when US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger ditched in New York's Hudson River succeeded.
Passengers cannot really get used to the idea of a cockpit without a pilot - even if large parts of the flight are already being flown by the autopilot, many see it as a comfort that two pilots are still present in the cockpit. According to a study by the German IT industry association Bitkom, 9 out of 10 air travelers would not get on a plane without a pilot.
Passengers fear hacking attacks and wrong decisions
Respondents fear that computers will cope no better than pilots with bad weather problems, engine failure or other problems that require experience. Fear of possible programming errors or hacker attacks are also things that scare passengers.
Because of this skepticism, industry experts expect that the technology will definitely come, but that it will initially be used in cargo aircraft. But Bitkom is also convinced that the doubts will eventually evaporate. "As with autonomous driving, reservations about autonomous flying will diminish over time and trust will grow," said aviation expert Marc Bachmann in a communication on the study.
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