Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Jeremy Vine Show - Pilotless Airliners

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Jeremy Vine Show - Pilotless Airliners

Old 27th Aug 2016, 08:11
  #141 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Home
Posts: 3,399
FlyingApe

Does the fact that there are autonomous aircraft currently flying that achieve vastly more tricky tasks than that required of an airliner not cause you to doubt your opinion even slightly?

No, they are not carrying passengers, but that is not a technical difficulty.

Out of interest, the aircraft you fly, what decade of last century was it designed in?

I only ask, because I used to have a car that the ABS never worked on. This was because it was designed before ABS was invented.

Perhaps something similar with your aircraft and autonomous flight?
Tourist is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 10:19
  #142 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,001
There are autonomous aircraft currently flying that achieve vastly more tricky tasks than that required of an airliner not cause you to doubt your opinion even slightly?

No, they are not carrying passengers, but that is not a technical difficulty.
Dare I ask - are you claiming/asserting that the technology to allow autonomous passenger ops working to the required level of safety expected by the traveling public and regulators is here right now? Today?
wiggy is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 11:25
  #143 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Home
Posts: 3,399
Originally Posted by wiggy View Post
Dare I ask - are you claiming/asserting that the technology to allow autonomous passenger ops working to the required level of safety expected by the traveling public and regulators is here right now? Today?
That's a very disingenuous question wiggy, since as you are well aware there is no such regulatory standard for autonomous aircraft.

How can you prove a level of safety except with hindsight?


The US navy currently has an autonomous aircraft which all by itself does carrier launches and landings and in-flight refuelling amongst other things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_X-47B

It currently has 100% safety record.....


Now, this was never designed to be passenger carrying. If it was, I would guess they would add an extra engine and probably just as many redundant systems as an airliner.

The point is, that the tech is there, and redundancy can be added in as required.
Tourist is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 11:56
  #144 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,001
I have no wish to continually argue but "disengenous" is a bit rich IMHO...

You did state "there are autonomous aircraft currently flying that achieve vastly more tricky tasks than that required of an airliner", and then went on to state "they are not carrying passengers, but that is not a technical difficulty."

Now maybe it's just me but TBH I'd say the question I asked was a fair one in the context of a thread about pilotless airliners.
wiggy is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 13:11
  #145 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Home
Posts: 3,399
You asked a question which as you well knew had no answer since there are no regulatory standards yet.

In terms of technological rather than regulatory challenges, there are autonomous aircraft flying today that are achieving vastly more tricky aspects of flight than airliner ops.

If you can successfully and consistently land on an aircraft carrier, then a runway is zero challenge.

If you can air-to-air refuel, then most other challenges pale into relative insignificance.

As I see it the tricky part will be the handover to an automated ATC, but it is not beyond the wit of man.


If you rephrase the question to exclude the unachievable bit re non-existent regulations, then yes I absolutely claim that the tech required already exists. There are no new technologies required, merely the will to place them all in a suitable airframe.
Tourist is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 13:39
  #146 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,001
Look, I think I get your POV, I really do.

You seem to think airliner ops are trivial. Many here would disagree with you.

You seem to think the technology for fully automated/autonomous ops is pretty much here, but perhaps not quite ready for pax ops just yet, though all it needs is some unspecified technical advance.

If anyone fields an an objection as to why autonomous ops might not be a player at the moment you come up with a vague or trivial fix ( add another engine - really? , redundancy - yes but what/where/at what level), or failing that throw in comments about peoples mobile phones or ABS..which doesn't move the argument anywhere.

I can promise you many others (some working in AI) think we're decades away from autonomous ops.

Anyhow this is just a debate, the answer is at least 20-30 years down the road..I'm out.
wiggy is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 16:55
  #147 (permalink)  
Trash du Blanc
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: KBHM
Posts: 1,185
Don't forget the relevant issue.

It is not, Can it be done?

It is, "Can it be done cheaper...."
Huck is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 17:18
  #148 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 301
What Huck said. And back on track.
What has to be asked, and what I said last time this appeared as a thread:

A: How long will development and certification take?
B: How many years of cost saving will it take to recoup (A)?
C: How long will the oil last?

If A + B > C it's a dead duck.

If it helps let's remember that even BP (surely the definition of fossil fuel optimists) are saying just over 40 years
16024 is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 17:45
  #149 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 645
16024

Your post appears to be based upon the premise that running out of oil will cause commercial aviation to stop. This is not a realistic idea, we will be running aircraft on "vegieburger oil" or some such substance by then.
keith williams is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 20:12
  #150 (permalink)  

I Have Control
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: North-West England
Posts: 39
Plenty of people on this thread are in favour of pilotless flight now or in the future. Not a single one of them is a qualified and experienced and current Airline Transport Pilot, I strongly suspect. Their views are therefore worthless, IMHO.

Until you've gone around late due to windshear/squall for example, and then made an immediate low level turn to avoid a Cb, and then decided upon a practical level-out and a quick required course of action/navigation based upon fuel status, alternate weather, other diverting air traffic volume, and the unforecast weather, at destination, then you know squat. (I was part of a 2-crew op that faced this precise scenario at CUN last year, fortunately in a serviceable highly automated aircraft. What followed successfully was in no way a series of automatic reflexes, way off what could ever be programmed in the next hundred years)

Ignorance is bliss for so many of you armchair pilots. Enjoy.
RoyHudd is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 20:27
  #151 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Age: 71
Posts: 54
The big change will be when not only the pilots but the passengers too are robots.
rideforever is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 20:43
  #152 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Brexitland
Posts: 1,137
Exactly what Roy Hudd said.
And John Farley - ie there is a huge difference between "steering" and "operating".

Last edited by Arfur Dent; 27th Aug 2016 at 20:43. Reason: sp
Arfur Dent is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2016, 20:53
  #153 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 645
RoyHudd

I have not read all of the posts in this thread, and with 8 pages I do not intend to do so. But from what I have read, it is not so much a case of people being in favour of pilotless aircraft or against them. One side appears to be arguing that they will eventually happen, and the other side is arguing that they will not. A number of posters also appear be accept that they will happen one day, but not for several decades.

Sadly like most PPRuNe threads, it will achieve nothing much. Each side will never convince the other, and debate will end only when the two sides become exhausted. None of this will have influence on what the future will actually bring.
keith williams is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2016, 05:58
  #154 (permalink)  
Canute
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by rideforever View Post
The big change will be when not only the pilots but the passengers too are robots.

Flight fantastic | The Economist
 
Old 28th Aug 2016, 09:56
  #155 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 416
The idea that there can be a sensible coloration between current UAVs and future Pilotless airliners is a little weak.
UAVs are not pilotless per se, they are remotely piloted. In addition carrying only hardware rather than "software" people, the loss of a UAV is only monetary.
At the moment there is no such thing as 100% safe software, indeed all our FBW aircraft have redundancy in spades but still need the Mk1 eyeball and Human interface in some situations.
When the Military go pilotless for combat aircraft the civil world will follow probably a decade later. IMHO.
alwayzinit is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2016, 14:34
  #156 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 581
Well done Roy Hudd - could not agree more.

Cheers
olster is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2016, 17:28
  #157 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Timbukthree
Posts: 4
There is no such thing as a 100% safe manned aircraft either. Otherwise, actuary tables would reflect a significantly reduced risk..

I predict unmanned jet freighters between major terminals by 2027. Unmanned semi-trucks (lorries) are ready to roll in temperate climates on undemanding routes. Unmanned 1-mile long freight trains without cabooses already exist.. Yes, the trains and lorries will operate in a protected, somewhat predictive and controlled environment, but the precedent has been set..unfortunately.

Unmanned passenger airliners? Probably never. Public perception, public relations, liability issues and corporate images just might outweigh the slickness and efficiency of automation.
Surely we all want a "Captain", even on the highly computerized (pre floppy disk era) Starship NCC-1701 Enterprise...don't we?

Last edited by evansb; 28th Aug 2016 at 17:59.
evansb is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2016, 20:20
  #158 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Florida and wherever my laptop is
Posts: 1,350
Originally Posted by evansb View Post
There is no such thing as a 100% safe manned aircraft either. Otherwise, actuary tables would reflect a significantly reduced risk..

I predict unmanned jet freighters between major terminals by 2027. Unmanned semi-trucks (lorries) are ready to roll in temperate climates on undemanding routes. Unmanned 1-mile long freight trains without cabooses already exist.. Yes, the trains and lorries will operate in a protected, somewhat predictive and controlled environment, but the precedent has been set..unfortunately.

Unmanned passenger airliners? Probably never. Public perception, public relations, liability issues and corporate images just might outweigh the slickness and efficiency of automation.
Surely we all want a "Captain", even on the highly computerized (pre floppy disk era) Starship NCC-1701 Enterprise...don't we?
This is more of an emotional argument, that the SLF require the comfort blanket of a crew at the front, or they will be unwilling to fly. This despite the fact that the crew only perhaps control the lift off and then don't touch the controls until after the aircraft is slowing from its CAT IIIb autoland (used as crews are not capable of sufficient safe accuracy).

The human-on-the-loop systems of today are close to autonomous. The crew are there to take over in the 'otherwise' cases that are expensive to design and certify. But the cost of the crew is increasing and the otherwise cases are being solved in military systems - yes at the cost of attrition in the learning environment - but now solved. All UAS are required to be autonomous for the occasions when the control link fails. In Lost Link operations by definition the recoveries are autonomous.

There is no extra technology or problem with changing normal freight for SLF, just a psychological boundary and for the regulators more certification testing. Validation and verification testing will already have been carried out for the military operations so the extra certification testing should not prove too challenging just long.

It is the psychological boundary that is difficult, especially for those with a vested interest in retaining their front row seat.

Last edited by Ian W; 28th Aug 2016 at 20:22. Reason: grammar
Ian W is offline  
Old 29th Aug 2016, 08:34
  #159 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Brexitland
Posts: 1,137
Ian W - what do you mean by "CAT 111B used as crews are not capable of sufficient safe accuracy"??
With your use of half truths and semi facts, you are obviously not a pilot. Do you know how often pilots carry out CAT 3 autolands? Do you know what happens to flow rates at, say LHR, when LVPs are in force? Do you know what facilities are required regarding airborne and ground equipment to carry out LVPs?
When LVPs are not in force and sensitive areas are not required to be protected, almost every pilot will carry out a manual landing flying large parts of the final approach manually as well.
Yes, we have a vested interest as pilots but we do as passengers too. How can you possibly know how many millions of people have been saved by expeditious and timely pilot intervention? After you on the first pilotless aircraft - I won't join you - ever.
Arfur Dent is offline  
Old 29th Aug 2016, 09:18
  #160 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Florida and wherever my laptop is
Posts: 1,350
Originally Posted by Arfur Dent View Post
Ian W - what do you mean by "CAT 111B used as crews are not capable of sufficient safe accuracy"??
With your use of half truths and semi facts, you are obviously not a pilot. Do you know how often pilots carry out CAT 3 autolands? Do you know what happens to flow rates at, say LHR, when LVPs are in force? Do you know what facilities are required regarding airborne and ground equipment to carry out LVPs?
When LVPs are not in force and sensitive areas are not required to be protected, almost every pilot will carry out a manual landing flying large parts of the final approach manually as well.
Yes, we have a vested interest as pilots but we do as passengers too. How can you possibly know how many millions of people have been saved by expeditious and timely pilot intervention? After you on the first pilotless aircraft - I won't join you - ever.
Actually, I do know all the limitations of ILS, which is rather too slowly being replaced by GLS and GBAS which is just as accurate (if not more accurate) and does not have issues with multi-path reflections requiring protected zones and extra in-trail separation. Perhaps you should read up about those, as GLS will be fitted to more advanced aircraft and they will not need to have extra separation. Perhaps you will then think about the number of days at Heathrow and other major hubs where the runway acceptance rate is severely reduced by aircraft using ILS when those aircraft using GLS could maintain the acceptance rates. An entire GLS/GBAS system can be installed at an airport for the cost of one annual ILS calibration and does not have the ILS limitations and will provide CAT IIIb accuracy for GLS approaches to all the runway ends within 20KM. GLS aircraft will save both the aircraft operators and airport operators significant amounts of money and disruption recovery exercises.

Not only that but as has been shown in developments in Seattle/Tacoma (SEA), curved instrument approaches can be carried out allowing reductions in flight time and noise nuisance while maintaining runway acceptance rates.

Autonomous operations are already being carried out in military developments and as said in this thread that includes carrier landings and air to air refueling both of which are far more complex than a simple IMC landing on a fixed runway. The potential financial benefits are not lost on the aircraft operators. As is always the case it is the regulators that cannot keep up with the capabilities of new aircraft. Although there are already UAS that are Part 23 certified.

Expect significant changes in the next decade and by 2035 the aviation world will have changed more than it did with the introduction of jet engines.

Addition>
I would have no problem being flown in a UAS. Enjoy your life in the aerospace museums saying "You won't get me up in one of those things."
Ian W is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.