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Virtual pilot lands Qantas jet

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Virtual pilot lands Qantas jet

Old 17th Apr 2004, 12:13
  #41 (permalink)  
Moderate, Modest & Mild.
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Global village
Age: 51
Posts: 3,018

"I've been on driverless trains in Paris, and Singapore (the entire MRT is automated). The TGV, Bullet and ICE are both semi-auto, with the TGV designing the driver entirely out of the operation in an emergency..." - courtesy of *Lancer*.

And in an emergency - or a complete failure of these driverless vehicles - where do they end up?
They come to a grinding Stop - on a line, on the ground, and the pax disembark on to the grass at the side.

And if the same were to happen to a pilotless aircraft, where would IT end up?
In a smouldering great hole in the ground, in a scene perhaps reminiscent of the Twin Towers on Sept 11, 2001.
And the Pax???
No prizes for guessing the right answer to that one!
Kaptin M is offline  
Old 18th Apr 2004, 00:06
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Springfield
Posts: 250
Crystal ball gazing

Thanks for the driverless train info. The contingency or fallback position for failure on the ground is significantly different than in the air; again that becomes a risk argument. (I remember when Sydney was conned into the monorail it was designed to be driverless - the thought of passengers stranded 4m above street level during power failure with no human guidance was enough for them to reintroduce drivers.)

I've no doubt technology poses no barrier for total automation of flight, whether this is a real cost saving for passenger transport is the point to be argued. So if the point in pilotless airliners is to reduce costs, the first adopters will surely be LCCs not established full service airlines running a reputation on safety. And I'd never suggest that LCCs would compromise on safety aspects of the operation for efficiency gains.

Has anybody mentioned the security issue? The hijack scenario changes somewhat.

However, I return to congested terminal and enroute airspace and the weather diversion issues... are we returning to an argument of free flight, with ground and aircraft-based computers negotiating strategic and tactical trajectories completely omitting the human element? Perhaps, ultimately, human ATC could go (I'd like to see it on the train system first), and certainly not before every single aircraft is equipped with the required hardware (cost saving my arshe). The human airline captain may, however, be integrated with a cabin manager - in the cockpit for takeoff/landing; serving drinks and throwing drunks in the brig during cruise. That's the obvious cost saving.
Duff Man is offline  
Old 18th Apr 2004, 01:10
  #43 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
Posts: 324
Good point about hijacking.

IF anything there would I guess be LESS chance of hijackings.

NO Pilots to threaten with harm unless they do what they are told.

Don't know how computers would react to hijackers, suspect they would ignore them.
lame is offline  
Old 18th Apr 2004, 01:46
  #44 (permalink)  

Nunc est bibendum
Join Date: Apr 1999
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Posts: 5,189
May be less chance of hijacking but one well aimed RPG or a decent truck bomb could take out the transmitter/ guidance station and you may have serious issues for more than just the one aircraft!

Besides that, the weather radar systems will have to be a LOT better than they are now if these pilot less aircraft are to have any hope in avoiding some of the cells and bouncing passengers, crew, trolleys, etc off the roofs!
Keg is offline  
Old 18th Apr 2004, 06:11
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Asia
Age: 52
Posts: 2,588

This information is from the US Air force web sight.

The basic crew for the Predator is one pilot and two sensor operators. They fly the aircraft from inside the GCS via a C-Band line-of-sight data link or a Ku-Band satellite data link for beyond line-of-sight flight.
Once mission parameters are programmed into Global Hawk, the UAV can autonomously taxi, take off, fly, remain on station capturing imagery, return and land. Ground-based operators monitor UAV health and status, and can change navigation and sensor plans during flight as necessary.
Notice the term pilot isnít used to describe the person who monitors the Global Hawk UAV health and status. That is because they arenít pilots.
404 Titan is offline  
Old 18th Apr 2004, 11:51
  #46 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Adrift upon the tides of fate
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Eh? You just proved my point ie; airliners could be flown from the ground, if that was an issue for the public.
If you are just trying to get into a pissing match about Global Hawk- then I can't. The info (in the public domain) you quote quite clearly says
the UAV can autonomously taxi
Note the word can . I'll leave you to join the dots. I'm fairly certain I've had more to do with Global Hawk than you. But thanks for proving my point, anyway.
Kaptin M. Do you really think in the fly-by-wire/digital age, in case of a problem an onboard pilot will be able to do more than a ground-based trouble-shooter? If required, the onboard tech might be accompanied by a pilot. Maybe there will be a pilot onboard if the public insist on it (via market research etc.). As for weather radar etc. I don't deny that a lot of things would have to get better before automation, but are you saying there won't be constant improvements? The crew of an airliner has shrunk from 5 to 2 due to technology, yet some of you seem to think that it will stop in the present.
ferris is offline  
Old 18th Apr 2004, 16:21
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Asia
Age: 52
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I have no intention of getting into a pissing argument with you. I was responding to your point that the Global Hawk needs a pilot. I have quite clearly shown it doesnít. Yes I did not the term ďcanĒ. This would indicate that it may be remotely piloted from the ground if need be. It also indicates that it doesnít need to be as well. If commanders in the field need to rush a lot of them into action, they donít need to have trained pilots.

In regards to the current technology being used it is fair to say that it is very much in its infancy. To make the system viable a great deal needs to be done in the advancement of artificial intelligence. The machine needs to be able to think for itself, as the environment it operates in is too dynamic for current technology to work completely autonomously. I am aware of one Global Hawk that has been lost. Whether it could have been fixed or overcome if there was a pilot on board, who knows? All I do know is if this had happened on a commercial airliner with pax on board, it would probably spell the end of its development. At the end of the day the airlines need to operate their aircraft profitably. I would has it a guess that the cost to insure one of these things would far outweigh the cost benefits of having no pilots or saving on overnight accommodation and allowances if the thing is remotely piloted from the ground. Remember that all innovations in this industry and in many others come to fruition because there is a direct cost benefit. If there isnít, the idea wonít get off the ground. My best guess is that the roll of the pilot will become more managerial but he or she will still have the ability to intervene where necessary. It may be that there is only one pilot but there will always be a pilot on board, at least in my lifetime.
404 Titan is offline  
Old 19th Apr 2004, 08:50
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: OZ
Posts: 126
Flight attendantless airlines

Boeing and airbus should look at designing flight attendantless aircraft before they make pilotless aircraft.

They ould have a metal robot on wheels with a revolving sushi train and mini bar build into it's waist.

Oohh..ohh and also a buitd in capsican spray for bad passengers and a stun gun for terrorists.

ohh..ohh and they an also have multiple personalities build in to them, so one minute you could have a happy cheery robot and the next a crumpy old crow serving you cold sushi.

U2 is offline  
Old 19th Apr 2004, 09:49
  #49 (permalink)  
The Reverend
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Cold sushi; is there any other kind?
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Old 19th Apr 2004, 22:48
  #50 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oz
Posts: 21
Automation for fun and profit


All this automation makes my bank accounts itch. VR on its way?

I saw, in Paris in '95, a demo system that integrated Mode S datalink and an ATC system to a level significantly above the level in this trial.

The controller was able, by use of a drag and drop interface, to amend the route of the aircraft. Basically they pulled a rubber band set-up across the screen. Once they were happy the validated the instruction which was then automatically uplinked the amended route to the aircraft FMC via Mode S datalink. The pilot simply had to execute the instruction and the aircraft flew the new route.

I see this as a significant improvement. If we follow the Virgin cabin service model, the cabin services manager will be able to press the button (cheaper than automating it) in their copious spare time. Pretty soon we'll be able to despatch all those pesky pilots and still vector the aircraft all over the sky. Mind you, it won't be so much fun with no-one to complain.
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