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Airbus Conducts Successful Tests in Pilotless Flights

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The future is here! After decades of autonomous airplanes being nothing but talk, Airbus has confirmed a test aircraft took off automatically at Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France last December, along with a series of successful tests on autopilot. (www.msn.com) Mais...

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Highflyer1950
Highflyer1950 6
It’s been proven over and over again, that the pilot assume’s control of the machine when it breaks. However, the exception to the rule is when the pilots don’t understand the systems? It might be interesting to note that a completely autonomous aircraft will just fly itself into the ground if it senses a flight condition that does not exist? The hard part is trying to program reasoning into a machine....A.I. is near but not here, yet!
bbabis
bbabis 2
I agree Highflyer. It's the "yet" part of your last sentence that this squawk addresses. It's coming and all large aircraft and most small aircraft manufacturers are working on it. I'm sure that as multiple fail down ways to control an aircraft are built into the system and it's not just handed to a pilot that may or may not know what to do, the air transportation system will be safer. I don't think they will ever find a way to do away with cabin attendants so having attendants with piloting and automation override skills may become important.
dnorthern
dnorthern 5
Ok. Properly programmed computers can fly more consistently than a human. BUT, when electronics go haywire only a human can intercede to reboot, flip breakers, or manually fly if need be.

Aside from that, I want a human in the cockpit who shares, relatively equally with pax, the outcome of the flight.
sparkie624
sparkie624 5
I am a Certified Avionics Tech who would work on and with these systems.... Point and Simple... "I WOULD NEVER FLY ON ONE OF THEM!...." -Things break and do things that are not expected... that is why people troubleshoot them and not computers!
isardriver
isardriver 8
i too pass on autonomous flight as a passenger, and i too find it hard to believe that 70% of 22k travelers feel ready to do this. i see people freaking out at the onset of turbulence all the time, suggesting that 15,400 out of 22k have no fear of flying in a tube without pilots and at the mercy of someone on the ground who might be on his coffee break or otherwise distracted seems unrealistic.
whip5209
Ken McIntyre 6
Not excited about this at all. I'm pass on non-human flights, thank you.
linbb
linbb -1
Oh well let see when the flying cars come out that should be about the same time along with an electric airliner that will haul enough to make a profit. Yup that will be the day.
picturetaker
Christian Parada 6
"a survey in 2019 found that 70 percent of 22,000 travelers feel ready to fly in a fully autonomous aircraft."

I don't believe that for a second.
Also, no info given on who led the survey, where it was taken, etc.
Could just be another attempt to engineer the general public's opinion.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/07/who-would-be-willing-to-fly-in-a-pilotless-plane-hardly-anyone.html

https://fortune.com/2017/08/07/pilotless-planes-survey/
FrankHarvey
Frank Harvey 2
When I'm in steerage 35,000 feet over the middle of the Atlantic, I'd be much happier with 3 or 4 humans on the far side of the cockpit door and four fans running under the wings. Or I might be tempted to use the old method and take 5 days to get between New York and Southampton.
bbabis
bbabis 1
To play devil's advocate, how many pilots were on the other side of the cockpit door of AFR447?
nmwallner
NICHOLAS WALLNER 2
i can see it now; when you book your flight: your fare structure would be with a choice of Pilot or without a Pilot.
bbabis
bbabis 2
Pilotless aircraft are coming faster than most people think. Many airlines are already instituting it by substituting “Mission managers” for “Pilots.”
Jimsinsky
Jim Sinsky 2
What airlines? Just curious.
bbabis
bbabis 3
My point Jim is that many pilots today don't possess the airmanship and experience levels that most posters here assume are in every airline seat. Many foreign carriers have pilots fully dependent on managing the automation of the aircraft they're on. Even the 1500 hr wonders streaming into US cockpits are suspect. The recent "Delta dump" showed a lack of experienced command airmanship. I just returned from a recurrent training session at FlightSafety and once again heard unbelievable stories of stuff the instructors are seeing more of every day. My time is getting short in the industry and I have loved every minute of it and when the time comes I will have no issues with jumping on a certified fully autonomous aircraft. Removing the cause of 85% of all aviation accidents can't be a bad thing.
ghstark
Greg S 2
Nothing new here, the very first jet aircraft was pilotless and was able to take off and land autonomously. Vergeltungswaffen Airlines flights from Germany to England commenced on 13 June 1944 and service from Germany to Belgium was added in October of that year.

The service was very unprofitable and was cancelled in March 1945.
dnorthern
dnorthern 2
Landed with a thud. And worse.
ghstark
Greg S 2
Kind of like my joke.

bbabis
bbabis 3
Don't be so hard on yourself. I liked it.
ravanviman
hal pushpak 1
Clever, really. And on point.. I have pilot friends who swore they'd never fly fly-by-wire aircraft -- and now they do.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
That is today why I do my best NOT to fly any Airbus or other fly by wire... If it is Electronic or Mechanical... It is not a matter of if it will Fail, But when it will fail. There are Backup systems for back up systems

I remember once working as a Maintenance Controller, I got a call from the Captain who told me he lost ALL electrical power momentarily and then returned... Did it 2 times on 2 take off rolls... We sent company mechanics to work this and see was going on.... We pulled both voice and data recorders which both fail at the exact same moment for a 2 second period and then returned to normal as if nothing had happened.

We were never able to reproduce this, but we replaced All generators, GCU's, Buss Contactors. We had a crew to do a High Speed taxi and a Maintenance test flight and all went perfect. All were sent off for repair and ALL of them came back with no defects noted. The conclusion as crazy as it may sound is that the combinations of contractors to CGU's had a conflict... No one can explain it further. The plane is still flying today, and has never had that incident ever again

With that in mind... How would this situation have turned out on a Pilotless flight....
bbabis
bbabis 1
Weird indeed Sparky and I have had a few incidents of the unexplained variety also. To answer your last question, it would have crashed, because if you take the pilots off of an aircraft that requires pilots, bad things happen. Fully autonomous aircraft does not mean simply removing pilots from today's aircraft.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Yes... But at that point, they are not pilots, but rather supervisors not proficient at really doing the work.
ClaytonOvermyer
Clayton Overmyer 1
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
I can just hear the computer captains announcement now... "Welcome aboard Flt 1234, bound for Chicago... This is Captain Otto and the flight should be a smooth flight, so everyone just sit back and relax, relax, relax..."
firsq
Yvon Dionne 1
No pilot....
I'm not a passenger.
Jackx9
Don Quixote 1
No way Jose, I am not stepping on board a fully autonomous aircraft
nasdisco
Chris B 1
I just can't see this working with all the different accents of ATC personnel.
Highflyer1950
Highflyer1950 1
But who in the cockpit is going to answer the radio if all the pilots are sitting on the ground ........H.A.L. or Watson or maybe in 50 years DATA? LoL.
Jimsinsky
Jim Sinsky 0
Did anyone commenting on this article read the last paragraph???
dnorthern
dnorthern 2
Although you make a good point, the fact remains AB is working toward total automation. The last paragraph is a diversion. Kinda like saying “we need to reduce our workforce labor costs. But we really don’t really plan to eliminate staff.” Cognitively, the former doesn’t match the latter.

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