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Old 12th Jun 2017, 14:31   #1 (permalink)
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Boeing studies pilotless planes as it ponders next jetliner

Boeing studies pilotless planes as it ponders next jetliner

Quote:
  • Boeing to test pilotless technology next year.
  • "The basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available," Boeing VP of Product Development Mike Sinnett said.
  • Jetliners currently have limited self-flying capabilities with the most recent onboard flight computers.


Hopefully it will have a better safety record than self driving cars.....
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 14:56   #2 (permalink)
 
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"Alexa, land me"
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 15:19   #3 (permalink)
 
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If you agree that in a thousand years time we will have the technology for pilotless air transport then it must follow that at some point between today and 3017 the world will start planning and building them, correct? So if the technology and will to try it is here and now, does anyone objectively think that we won't see pilotless airliners in the next ten/twenty years?

What do you think navigators said when the first navigational computers appeared?

What do you think flight engineers said when the 737 etc arrived?

What do you think any human profession that was eventually replaced with automation thought at the time?

What makes you think pilots are any different?
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 15:25   #4 (permalink)
 
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Technically it's possible. Jet drones have landed on aicraft carriers.

It might still be too expensive for many years to come. Essentially one needed something like ILS-reliability over the whole route. Might be better suited for the military and maybe for cargo flights one day.

Cars are said to go automatic within ten years so where is smoke...
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 16:13   #5 (permalink)
 
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Airbus demonstrated gate to gate automated flight 20 odd years ago. Not sure where the concern is, humans have many more failure modes than machines.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 16:49   #6 (permalink)
 
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The american regulatory system would be terrified at the prospect of having no one in the front seat to sue if a passenger spills a drink. It might put the lawyers out of business...
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 17:03   #7 (permalink)
 
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Would you put your family and loved ones on an aircraft that was pilotless ? Yes , that`s what I thought.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 17:12   #8 (permalink)
 
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I put my family on a driverless train (in docklands), and there's not really that much difference between train drivers and pilots so I suppose in principle I would.

Incidently - when asking a question a normal human gives the other person the opportunity to answer and then listens and considers that answer rather than just bludgeoning them with their own view. That's probably why Boeing are investigating ways to eliminate pilots, thereby ensuring that the thing controlling the aeroplane might listen to what it was asked to do...
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 17:29   #9 (permalink)
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... there's not really that much difference between train drivers and pilots ....
Really...?
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 18:14   #10 (permalink)
 
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Not the next 12 years, I bet!

Why?
Think of a number , quick!
Its when I have to retire.
What is going to happen?, an educated guess!:
1
They narrow it down to 1 pilot.
2
They try it out with Cargo ops
3
Full autonomy, with a groundbased emg mode 110% secure???
4
Development of a new autoland system on top of or parallel to the old Lorenz Beam ( ILS)
5
A complete reconstruction of the architecture of the A/C for automatic switching. Normal , Non-Normal and Emergency modes.

It is not possible to modify an aircraft for this, it has to be purpose build, with a Captain ( training wheels) . After years of operation, off he goes!

I would start out with a longhaul freighter and Pax aircraft.

Now considering we already have selfdriving ships, cars , busses and trains all over the place , no problem.
What all those have in common is one thing we dont.:
Worst case: Program it to stop and drop anchor!
Pilotless aircraft is comming, but I am long gone by then.

"This is still Your Capt B speaking!
All take offs and landings will be hand made and less then perfect, but safe!"
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 18:15   #11 (permalink)
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Wouldn't it be nice to have a technical discussion forum for professional pilots and a separate one for the assorted numpties, morons, idiots etc that are going to come on here telling the pros how a computer can do their job!
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 18:20   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDR1 View Post
... there's not really that much difference between train drivers and pilots ....


Really...?
I think that you will find that train drivers get paid more than many pilots and the railway companies pay for their training.

And if JC ever manages to renationalise the railways the pay will be even better.

For those who think I am joking here are a few examples:

Virgin Trains average 61246

London Underground 49169

National average 47705

I know or at least one full qualified ATPL holder who gave some serious thought to becoming a train driver.

Last edited by keith williams; 12th Jun 2017 at 20:48.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 20:19   #13 (permalink)
 
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PDR1 ; To say there`s not much difference between train drivers and pilots clearly makes obvious that you know absolutely nothing about what you are talking about. Furthermore , your ignorance of the profession gives further reason why many like you actually believe it could happen in the next 20 years. There will be no commercial pilotless jet operations anywhere for at least 20 years. To articulate the engineering , liability , technological , social and business cases for this to be at least a generation away , you would need to get your head out of the sand.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 21:52   #14 (permalink)
 
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To understand the issues (technical, legal, philosophical and political) you have to get your mental comms switch out of "broadcast" and into "listen" (or at least "duplex"). That this trait is rare amongst a certain type of commercial pilot is actually evidence that the pilotless aeroplane is a needed, rather than merely desirable development.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 00:02   #15 (permalink)
 
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Your argument is void of reason and reeks more of spitefulness than anything else. Failed the medical ? Didn`t pass the interview ? Got airsick ? Just couldn`t cut it ? Why are you on PPRuNe swiping at pilots ? I`ll be polite and just say , you haven`t a clue mate.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 08:03   #16 (permalink)
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One issue that has yet to be fully explained is how pilotless aircraft will integrate into the Air Traffic Management system. Will they operate alongside current "conventional" aircraft, or will they have their own airspace? Will air traffic control be able to contact these pilotless aircraft? Will they be following a pre-defined flight plan or will they be remotely piloted?
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 09:55   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BBK View Post
Wouldn't it be nice to have a technical discussion forum for professional pilots and a separate one for the assorted numpties, morons, idiots etc that are going to come on here telling the pros how a computer can do their job!
Indeed. BTW, don't understand this thread has been moved from Rumors&News, to Tech Log and now ended up in Spotters Corner....
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 10:00   #18 (permalink)
 
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One issue that has yet to be fully explained is how pilotless aircraft will integrate into the Air Traffic Management system. Will they operate alongside current "conventional" aircraft, or will they have their own airspace? Will air traffic control be able to contact these pilotless aircraft? Will they be following a pre-defined flight plan or will they be remotely piloted?
There is a third option; they could be autonomous, making routing decisions based on the situation around them. The input instructions are at the high level only - "Your schedule is XX, your destination is YY. You must comply with the regulations and give due account to weather, proximity alerts, onbboard status alerts, ATM instructions/restrictions/updates etc, your diversion criteria are ZZ and your available diversions are AA or BB, and you must conduct the flight with the lowest possible fuel consumption commensurate with these requirements". The technology to do this already exists ATM comms would be in the form of a datalink signal rather than verbal, but the controller would just be pressing message buttons rather than talking.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 10:50   #19 (permalink)
 
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The pilotless aircraft has always been the goal of every aircraft. Their problem is manufacturers can't work out how to do it. Their first problem is existing software. It is so full of bugs it will give a plate of rotten seafood a run for its money. Many bugs are minor, but they still exist. When bug free software is delivered to existing aircraft then the software industry is ready for the next step. If Honeywell are involved, pilots will always be needed. We also have to change the nomenclature of intersections and existing navaids. A cleared direct to SPL, OL, LBA, COBOL, HAVEN might change the outcome of your day. Weather avoidance is another issue. Who will be learning which clouds to avoid, which tracks to take to avoid turbulence on finals? Academics? Experienced line pilots? I can answer that one easily - whoever is cheapest. Then we have the unexpected. Currently, carbon based life-forms do a reasonable job at self programming, failing that they regularly guess well. And a computer? Or will this be sub'ed out to a call centre in India?

Currently, aircraft system architecture is inappropriate for unmanned. They are too centralised and too cumbersome. We probably need to revert back to autonomous analogue systems for basic flying and digital systems for decision making. Then they have to be glued together and wrapped up in a totally bullet proof communications system with failsafe for when they fail.

And they are just come of the bits a soon to be replaced, bog standard, worthless line pilot can foresee.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 11:33   #20 (permalink)
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The thread got moved here as we've been told it's imminent since the mid fifties.

Single proof of concepts are techno willy waving - the integration into an airport and airspace control and management system is what brings pilotless to it's knees. The world would have to pay for for the airframers bold and exciting moves forward to fit into an transport system which is risk averse, technically and financially.

Won't be on R+N until one is moving towards certification and the infrastructure funded to allow its use on actual routes.

Can a pilotless aircraft be built in a relatively short timeframe - absolutely yes.

Is there any compelling reason for the whole airports and traffic management world to be changed to accommodate such an aircraft? Use your skill and knowledge of the ROI for such change. AKA - what's in it for them?

The radio operator, flight engineer and navigator going didn't cost anything to these people. This next step would - in spades.

Rob
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