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Automation in the Commercial Aviation Industry

Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:51 pm

What does everyone think about automation in the airline industry? Thoughts on when and how we can expect it or if we ever will?
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Re: Automation in the Commercial Aviation Industry

Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:41 pm

Seems a financial bonanza will be given to the airliner maker who can certify a one-person cockpit.

Personally I hope not to see it, but the financial pressure to get there must be immense.
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Re: Automation in the Commercial Aviation Industry

Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:46 pm

your question is sufficiently vague that it difficult to respond. None the less, both Boeing and Airbus have been automating the production process over the last 20 plus years. While Boeing uses a Japanese car moving line and a lot of join robotics on most models, Airbus uses a lot of robot assembly, yet still believe on towing sections and planes around the plant.
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Re: Automation in the Commercial Aviation Industry

Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:53 pm

Well you've gone from what, pilot, co-pilot, radio officer, navigator, chief engineer, and even assistant engineers for those first huge flying boats. Now we're down to pilot and co-pilot. So automation has already killed off most the flight deck jobs.

As for the rest of it? Might start seeing automatic taxiing, autopilot in control more of the time, single pilot operation for short haul narrowbodies. All sorts of things. But with all automation the killer is the edge cases. If you can't handle them then the benefits become very restricted in its usefulness. And with how conservative aerospace can be to new stuff it will take a while for the really cool stuff to appear.
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Re: Automation in the Commercial Aviation Industry

Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:19 pm

There’s quite a lot of automation on the 787 in regards to OML hole drilling throughout the entire fuselage. The Brojte machines, quad-bots (which are amazing) and the circ join track drillers. I can see more automation within this small area of the build cycle but, we are many years off from seeing any substantial secondary structures automation if the jobs/parts themselves dont lend to easy automation. Way too many parts and most would be inaccessible. I would love to see more robotics used for all fuselage joining and fastening, though.
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Re: Automation in the Commercial Aviation Industry

Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:23 pm

If a drone can be remotely piloted to any point on the globe from a cubicle stateside today, it's not difficult to imagine a pilotless cockpit, especially if the "pilot" can be sourced from a low-wage 3rd world country.
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Re: Automation in the Commercial Aviation Industry

Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:48 pm

When I book a flight, I instantly get assigned a seat (provided one is available in my class of service and the fare is eligible for advanced seat selection). I can check-in online, and board a flight with minimal human interaction (scanning my phone at the security checkpoint and at the gate). Delays or gate changes can be pushed to my phone automatically, as well as changes in seat assignments, without having to talk to another person or get a new boarding pass printed.

Virtually all airline tickets are e-tickets now.

Does that count as automation? Because it's already happening.
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