View Single Post
Old 4th Jan 2018, 12:50
  #70 (permalink)  
Ian W
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Florida and wherever my laptop is
Posts: 1,307

I am surprised you haven't seen a driverless car or train, you could go to the Docklands Light Railway not far from you and see one that has been running for years. Driverless cars are common place in many cities in the USA and are approved for trials in UK too.

There are plenty of these unpiloted air taxis that are actually past the concept stages and in development. Optionally piloted aircraft have been around for nearly 10 years. Boeing: Unmanned Little Bird H-6U

All you need to do is look at the work going on in EASA and RTCA on standards for UAS/RPAS/Drones all of them by definition need to provide certification standards for autonomy as the UAS/RPAS is autonomous when it has a comms link failure. All is available on the internet with a simple search.

The arguments being made here are that pilots are there to solve all these issues that automation cannot solve. Yet we also see discussions here on deskilling by letting the automatics fly the aircraft so when LOC happens the pilots are unable to regain control. The software is then written next time to not hand that LOC to the crew but to solve it instead. When the automatics become better than a deskilled pilot in recovering non-nominal events perhaps even identifying ahead of time when they will happen and mitigating them in advance, then it becomes very difficult to justify having a pilot.
The move from pilot in the loop to pilot on the loop has already started. once all aircraft systems and operations are pilot on the loop, the next step is pilot out of the loop. (and pilot is already out of the loop on things like FADECs)

There is a defense contract being competed for in the US for carrier borne UAS tankers that will autonomously operate from carriers and provide range extending refuelling to USN and USMC aircraft in combat operations. Refuelling and carrier landings and takeoffs are more challenging than anything that airliners or freighters will experience.
Ian W is offline