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Airbus pitches pilotless jets -- at Le Bourget

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Airbus pitches pilotless jets -- at Le Bourget

Old 19th Jun 2019, 07:39
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Originally Posted by CargoOne


you must be the one who is avoiding LGW and FRA inter-terminal trains?
perhaps include the Docklands Light Railway in London which carries more than 119million people a year over a 24 mile network and has an on time departure reliability rate of 99% with no driver, just a computer. Yes it has a fixed trajectory which reduces the chance of straying. This is the future of all rail travel. Yes I know it’s a flying forum but planes now won’t work safely without computers - properly programmed of course
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 07:42
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THE FUTURE ? I HOPE NOT

'Welcome to the first computer flown transatlantic crossing. Let me assure you that although we have no pilots aboard our triple computer system and advanced programing guarantees you will have a safe and pleasant flight to New York. Be assured that nothing can go Wrong Go Wrong Go Wrong Go Wrong Go Wrong >>>>>>>>>>'
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 07:47
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Originally Posted by Herod
Errr...on what do you base that? A pilot is thinking and acting (or at least monitoring) in 4 dimensions (the conventional 3 plus time). A car driver is only in 2. In fact, if you accept that a car is following a road, he is only in 1; straight ahead.
Your view is highly over simplistic. Next time you get in a car lock the steering straight ahead and accelerate to 70mph with your eyes shut, see how far you get . . .

Aircraft operate in a highly controlled environment (cars do not), the control system required to fly a plane does not require complex decision making logic which requires non deterministic deep learning to be used (cars do - there is no other approach (today) which allows a car to be driven on current roads), it's flight behaviour is mathematically deterministic (a car is not - the deep learning part is non deterministic and 'difficult' from a safety perspective). From a software and safety perspective, aircraft are much simpler to fly than driving a car (assuming the car is being driven in any kind of realistic scenareo).

It is a very commonly held view (in the safety, systems and software communities) that full automation of aircraft and trains is far more practical than that of cars.

Airbus, unsusprisingly, concur.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 07:55
  #44 (permalink)  
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Of course absolute perfection will probably never be achieved but pilotless aircrafts will happen, and I'd wager to say sooner than most expect.
It won't happen until the world's insurance markets agree to let it happen, when they feel it is an acceptable risk, especially the third party element, (pilotless aircraft involved in a mid-air collision over the CBD of a major city). The leaders in the aviation insurance market notch up a lot of air miles and will have definite opinions on this subject.
Before the skies become full of pilotless aircraft, dependent on ground control all threat from sophisticated terrorism will have to have been eliminated.
Don't hold your breath.

Last edited by parabellum; 19th Jun 2019 at 08:23.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 08:01
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I wish people would stop using ground-based examples of automated control to justify systems for aircraft.
There is one BIG difference. Just about any ground based control system faced with data ‘outside parameters’ will contain Code to ‘halt and call for assistance’. Difficult to do when you are flying!
And for all those second guessing Sully; remember a big part of the decision making was that ‘even with a 90% chance of a successful turn back, there was a 10% chance of a dive into a heavily populated area’. How do Computers/ Programmers deal with that?
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 08:14
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Yeah right. People’s enthusiasm for this fairy land stuff is in inverse proportion to their operational experience. Physically handling the aircraft is about 5% of what an airline pilot does. I wonder if an enthusiastic PhD student has ever followed a domestic crew on , say, a 4 sector per day, 4 day trip and added up the critical decisions made from sign-on to sign-off. It would be an interesting exercise. Just boarding, getting the doors closed, pushing back and taxiing to the hold point would be beyond automation. Ain’t gunna happen.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 08:18
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Originally Posted by KiloB
And for all those second guessing Sully; remember a big part of the decision making was that ‘even with a 90% chance of a successful turn back, there was a 10% chance of a dive into a heavily populated area’. How do Computers/ Programmers deal with that?
Quite so.

It's not hard to envisage that a computer flying US1549 might well have decided that diving into the Hudson was the least worst option (confining any deaths or injuries to those on board), compared to the carnage that would likely ensue if the flight came down in the middle of a New York borough.

I'd rather have the guy(s) up front making that decision, rather than some anonymous programmer who's having a bad day at his/her keyboard.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 08:24
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Originally Posted by KiloB

And for all those second guessing Sully; remember a big part of the decision making was that ‘even with a 90% chance of a successful turn back, there was a 10% chance of a dive into a heavily populated area’. How do Computers/ Programmers deal with that?
This is very easy and you don’t need any AI for that. A processing power equivalent to iPhone with pre-programmed aircraft performance and other relevant data input will make a decision in a split of a second with no element of guessing, as it will analyse about a few thousand possible scenarios and choose the best one, this is where computers are light years ahead of people.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 08:30
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When I see all I have to solve on the ground as captain with my FO (oh I m so glad we are 2, to respect our short turnaround of today) and I just speak about ground stuff, pax problems, bag loader, cabin crew request, ... I m always thinking, the flying part is the easy part ... So if a full automated plane come, they need to change all the way to operate this plane, from the gate agent to the ground staff and ATC ... Thinking those plane will have to operate same time as the good old fashioned 2 crews one, I m wondering how they want to do this transition.

Oh, ofc, they will have a single crew plane, but one small problems I believe is : it works when you have a single pilot with past experience ... Few years later, how it will work 200hr training and you are captain to take all the decisions (I speak again about ground) it took me so long to see other doing it before I was myself able to do it ...

We all ve been promising autonomous cars ... Still waiting ... And even Tesla admitted it is more difficult than they initially thought ...
Airbus and other are telling us how we will fly autonomous flying bus in the city ... Same, it is really good to speak about that and try to develop technology, but public already don't accept a low altitude helicopter over city, noise and other ... So yo imagine even hundred of those electric autonomous flying all over London or newyork ... I take the bet it will not arrive anywhere soon (not with the schedule market people communicate to us ! )

Same as the hyperloop project, if I listen advertisement, in few years we will be able to travel so fast it will be amazing ... Same I take the bet it won't be that fast to happen ...

Fly safe.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 08:50
  #50 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by CurtainTwitcher
What exactly are they good at? The leading type of AI, neural nets are exceptional of taking a closed problem and solving it eg AlphaGo and AlphaGo Zero
(AGZ). However, these problems were not solved on the fly, they took extensive computational resources to generate it's own training data in the case of AGZ it was a 40 day process simulating playing itself to generate the dataset.

However, neural nets need extensive clean training data, either from the real world or by simulation. There was no extensive corpus of air returns with double engine damage for A320's unlike the millions of recorded games of Go for Alpha Go training. Even Sully's effort represents a single instance that is effectively useless for future algorithmic training. Billions of simulations would be necessary just to replicate & solve this exact scenario on this day. For self driving cars they actually model intersections and do billions of simulations to generate the training data to enable self driving: Inside Waymo's Secret World for Training Self-Driving Cars.

There are many things that computers can do exceptionally better than humans, but solving novelty is not one of them using the current leading AI technology.
You're conflating AI with machine learning and with automation.

Furthermore, you're wrong that "AI" requires millions of (recorded games) to learn from. An extensive corpus is not necessarily required. Read about AlphaGo Zero, which used zero recorded games (hence the name). In just three days AlphaGo Zero played 5 million games against itself -- and surpassed the original AlphaGo (the version that beat Lee Sedol), winning against it 100 games to 0. The successor AlphaZero is even more impressive.

Now, AlphaGo Zero's technique is probably not suited to autonomous vehicles, but we don't even need machine learning to safely return Sully's plane back to La Guardia. For a computer, this is actually a much simpler problem, where a constraint satisfaction system combining a finite state machine with path planning would be sufficient.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 09:20
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You're conflating AI with machine learning and with automation
Yes, I concede this point. However, an aircraft operates in a total system where some "smarts" either human or AI commands a lower level system to implement the automation to do the manipulation of the aircraft in space. The automation bit is relatively easy, and well established technology.

What most people here are talking about is the smarts, that is the challenge that most are alluding to here. In the case of the Sully, I also concede that the automation level required to implement the turn and configure for a return is relatively straight forward. What I am questioning how to implement the AI command decision to make the turn or take another choice or any one of thousand of possible scenario's that arise across the planet every day for takeoffs and landings with a range of mechanical malfunctions.

How do you write code for each specific scenario? Is every takeoff in a twin jet going be running the double engine failure and return scenario calculation for every takeoff and climb until a return is no longer possible? How about the CX scenario above with one thrust lever at idle and one stuck at 75% for approach. Is the computer going to be running every know scenario constantly? There are a lot of predictable scenario's that haven't yet been seen, and and even more that we can't imagine, but will happen given sufficient time.

I am specifically talking about the implementation of the command aspects of the flying problem, and I thank you for forcing clarification of this point.

As to AlphaGo vs AlphaGo zero, yes I was well aware of the differences between the two, which raises more subtle points. Humans cannot follow the gameplay of AGZ in some case, and see unprecedented & crazy moves which are completely foreign, This issue this raises is reproducibility, how does an algorithm arrive at its decision? It isn't always explainable, or in some cases reproducible which is going to be a legal issue when the inevitable accidents occur. Any highly complex system that meets the real world, human or AI is going to have accidents eventually.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 09:55
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I'd rather have the guy(s) up front making that decision, rather than some anonymous programmer who's having a bad day at his/her keyboard.
Given pilots are strapped to the same machine, always pays to bet on that old horse called self interest!
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 10:11
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Full automation and aviation. What about the phenomenons that as pilots we see out the window. The CB that is not painting on the radar, the one that is but isn’t. That wind on short final that seems to come from nowhere. So many variables that humans can and do deal with.

Feeling what is obviously wake turbulence and using initiative to avoid further, even though separation exists.

I don’t doubt it will happen, but I feel it will be a loooong way away until it’s the norm.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 11:15
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To have truly autonomous aircraft, will require real artificial general intelligence, and that is decades away at best.

The flip side of that coin is that you will then be placing hundreds of human lives in the hands of something you cannot control.

Hopefully I'm pushing up poppies by the time this era comes to be.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 14:00
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So is the computer going to threaten to land the plane at the nearest airport if a bunch of drunken yahoos onboard start pissing on the floor and molesting the female passengers? Will 400 terrified humans who have just dropped 1000' be mollified by a computer voice saying "BE CALM. ALL IS WELL"? When the plane catches fire, do we just let the pax decide which doors to open? How long would you stay on an automated plane that was apparently stuck on the runway for reasons that you don't understand? I spent four hours on one (hot) plane in Denver waiting for thunderstorms to clear, it would have been pretty damn ugly if there wasn't some authority to both coerce us to staying onboard and assuring us (falsely it turned out) that we were leaving soon. Imagine some rumor while flying across the atlantic that the plane is going the wrong way or that communication has been lost...

I have been on automated trains late at night in big cities, it can get a bit scary even for a guy. On the street you can avoid situations that you can't when you are trapped in a little tube, which is not a natural situation for humans.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 14:06
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In 15-20 years probably, but now just see what the total fiasco with the 737 Max, and Airbuses crash during this decade.

Add to this possible hacking of the plane. A good reason not to trust (yet) the computers too much.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 14:38
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The reactions of the general public riding in an elevator (lift) which has a malfunction and does its own thing when buttons are pushed should give a clear indication of how
accepting people are of machinery which malfunctions with no one controlling it.
It moves up and down on rails in a concrete shaft so what could possibly go wrong and be scary about that?
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 17:24
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I’m sorry Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 18:57
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Originally Posted by SARF
I’m sorry Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that
HAL, shut the f*ck up, I've kicked the tyres now you light the Godamn fires and let's get the hell out of here!



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Old 20th Jun 2019, 01:03
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How many airframes & lives have been saved by human pilots recognizing various types of runway incursions? Delaying a rotation or rotating early? Going around? How many pilots have saved engines and tires on aircraft while avoiding FOD while taxiing? How many ATC controllers have made errors that a human pilot trapped, preventing an accident? What about enroute weather considerations? There are so many different situations that can occur in aviation and it’s human pilots, making human decisions that keep it safe.

Technology and hacking is not what will prevent pilotless airliners, it’s the required human interface that will.
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