miller22
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Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:34 pm

Looks like IFATS is taking the next step towards designing a pilotless aircraft. I have to admit, it looks pretty cool, but will anyone actually get into it?

The logical step is to go to a single-pilot cockpit, first, so I don't see this particular concept taking off, but the pressure to move in that direction is certainly starting to mount.

EU Unmanned Airliner Concept outlined
 
Toulouse
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:58 am

I believe Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair recently brough this up as well saying he'd be interested in Boeing building him a pilotless 737 type aircraft... he said it would really help him cut more costs: no pilots! I just thought it was yet another of his stupid publicity stunts.

I mentioned it to a few friends at Airbus and they all burst out laughing.

Sure, maybe it will happen some day, but I doubt, and hope, it won't happen for the next couple of hundred years.

There is no way I'd like to be in a pilotless plane, and I think the immense majority of the flying public would be against this idea. Even the idea of getting rid of the co-pilot and just having a single pilot doesn't sound great to me (I know that's probably stupid when there are plently of light aircraft around with just one pilot, but...).

And can you imagine the reaction of the pilot's unions?? Just think of all the problems when cockpit crews were reduced from 3 to 2 (getting rid of the engineer).

This whole research is, in my opinion, just another waste of money that could be spent on something much more worth while.
Long live Aer Lingus!
 
VEEREF
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:22 am

Someday. not in my lifetime though, thank God.
Airplanes are cool. Aviation sucks.
 
VEEREF
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:24 am

Here's a more economical idea.

Instead of pilotless aircraft, how about idiotless airline boardrooms?
Airplanes are cool. Aviation sucks.
 
RiddlePilot215
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:47 am

I think the concept of pilotless aircraft is a good idea...But the plans for such implementation seem a bit grand for such a prototype idea....I'd start with something like, oh say small cargo planes, like a C208, and a Falcon Jet, and see how the program works out.

However I just don't see this flying with ATC too much...The complete automation of airplanes is just making it one step closer to completely automating ATC...
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
 
Blackbird
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:28 am

Let's hope the pilot unions have the sense to make a huge stink about it.

Blackbird
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:32 am

Just like: who would ever want to fly long-haul on a twin-engined aircraft?

It's inevitable that aviation will continue to change, and many of those changes will make die-hards "uncomfortable."
 
kearney
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:51 am

Quoting Miller22 (Thread starter):
The logical step is to go to a single-pilot cockpit, first

Since one pilot could fly a "two pilot aircraft", I think this means a one pilot aircraft would need to be able to fly without a pilot. Maybe im wrong, but its nice to know if one pilot gets sick there is still another pilot there to take control. One of those "just in case" percautions.
 
archie
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:00 am

The day pilotless airplanes start flying in airlines, is the day I will stop flying in airlines  Smile

Scary thought having a computer fly without human decisions and use of logic. Even if the computer is incredibly fast and all, it will never substitute human ability to make, change and execute decisions.

Best,
Archie
 
planemaker
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:22 am

Quoting RiddlePilot215 (Reply 4):
I think the concept of pilotless aircraft is a good idea...But the plans for such implementation seem a bit grand for such a prototype idea....I'd start with something like, oh say small cargo planes, like a C208, and a Falcon Jet, and see how the program works out.

FYI, there has been several threads about this topic that you may be interested in reviewing. One most recently about Boeings patent for an auto-landing system that could be activited remotely and would remove control from the "crew"... or could be activated by the crew but could not be de-activated by them once enganged.

Quoting Archie (Reply 8):
it will never substitute human ability to make, change and execute decisions.

Oh, it will! And on the other hand, it won't make any pilot errors that are the cause of most accidents.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:22 am

Quoting Kearney (Reply 7):
Since one pilot could fly a "two pilot aircraft", I think this means a one pilot aircraft would need to be able to fly without a pilot. Maybe im wrong, but its nice to know if one pilot gets sick there is still another pilot there to take control. One of those "just in case" percautions.

You could perhaps see a second pilot become a member of the cabin crew who could come to the assistance of the main pilot if necessary.
 
SJCRRPAX
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:43 am

Quoting RiddlePilot215 (Reply 4):
However I just don't see this flying with ATC too much...The complete automation of airplanes is just making it one step closer to completely automating ATC...

 checkmark 

Sometimes when I listen to ATC, it seems like they are the ones flying the plane. They tell the pilot when to turn, when to change altitude, etc. I imagine the whole process could be automated just like the BART trains in San Francisco, where the only thing the conductor does is push a button to close the doors are apply the emergency brake. The aircraft could have the flight plan entered into a computer before take off and altered by the ATC computer in flight if needed. We are probably still a ways away from that, and the transistion period I think would be long and difficult.
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:45 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 10):
You could perhaps see a second pilot become a member of the cabin crew who could come to the assistance of the main pilot if necessary.

Commonwealth air forces did just that back in the 1940s. Given the shortage of pilots, all British heavy bombers had just one pilot's seat, as opposed to two, and dual control, on their US counterparts. The flight engineers were given rudimentary 'get you home' training in case the pilot got hit.

However, life was inevitably fairly cheap in those days - I can't see today's passengers standing for such a loose setup, just to save the salary of one pilot (which would probably be less, on a single flight, than the price of a business seat).

There's also the matter of fatigue. From here, 14-hour flights are not unusual - there is no possiblility that a single pilot could stay fully awake or alert for such a period. And, given the suddenness with which flying problems tend to arise, a situation of a 'controls watcher' tasked with literally waking the pilot up in the event of an emergency would be 'inadvisable,' to say the least.  Smile

So I unreservedly agree with those who have said that two pilots are the absolute minimum. Indeed, Qantas usually use at least three pilots anyway on longer trips, I don't know about other airlines.

I also agree with those who have said that it will be a long time before pilotless aeroplanes are introduced. Not even for cargo. Even a cargo aircraft which misbehaves has to crash somewhere - and given that a lot of accidents occur during landing or takeoff, they would very probably crash on or near airports most of the time.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
Dornier328Jet
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:49 am

Quoting Archie (Reply 8):
The day pilot-less airplanes start flying in airlines, is the day I will stop flying in airlines

I'll second that.

IMHO, a pilot-less aircraft is a terrible idea. Granted, a computer may not make errors. However, computers malfunction. Not to mention a computer does as it is programmed. The pilot may not be in direct control of the aircraft, but someone still had to program the computer. Thus, human error can still happen. Also, if something goes wrong with the aircraft, a computer may be programed to solve the issue, but it can't beat human ingenuity. The human mind can be great during a disaster. See United 232.
 
Blackbird
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:52 am

That un-interruptable auto-pilot which both Boeing and Airbus is designing is a disturbing trend. I personally think they're exploiting people's fear of terrorism to completely automate the planes and take the pilot out of the cockpit once and for all.

As I said before, I hope the pilot's unions have the common sense to make a federal case out of this thing before it's too late

Andrea K
 
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Tugger
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:53 am

Quoting Toulouse (Reply 1):
Sure, maybe it will happen some day, but I doubt, and hope, it won't happen for the next couple of hundred years.

Ummm, a hundred years? No, it'll happen within our (at least my) lifetime. I give it 30, maybe forty years.

And by the way, I went to Riddle, my best friend (and two others) are pilots. So I don't have some weird hatred of them.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6):

Check! I agree, it all depends on the flying public and what they think/fear. I guess you could market as the plane the can't be taken over by a hijacker (and now I'll get flamed by people who will say "what about hackers?"), but i don't think the flying public will be able to accept it until their cars have "auto-drive" whtaever. (which is infinitley harder but is coming sooner than later.)

Quoting Archie (Reply 8):
The day pilotless airplanes start flying in airlines, is the day I will stop flying in airlines Smile

Guess yuor job doesn't involve flying. Good for you!  Wink

Tug
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
VEEREF
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:09 am

Pilotless aircraft will eventually arrive.

So will lawyerless law firms, doctorless hospitals, greeterless Wal Marts, etc.

So those on this board so eager to see pilots replaced by computers, don't forget there are probably many also calling for your replacement as well.
Not just an aviation thing.


I still predict that within a week of introduction, one of these pilotless wonders will fall out of the bottom of a thunderstorm in a thousand pieces.

But no problem, with all of the cost savings of not having employees there will be plenty of cash to cover the lawsuits. Can anyone say "acceptable losses?"

[Edited 2006-12-23 03:37:29]
Airplanes are cool. Aviation sucks.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:13 am

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 16):
greeterless Wal Marts

One can only hope...

However, this would be predicated by the old folksless Retirement Home.
 
Curmudgeon
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:48 am

I think that the next step will be a remotely piloted aircraft with an onboard back-up pilot. I expect this would work like a two crew operation now, simply with the non-flying pilot being on board. In cruise, he could be in crew rest unless required by degradation of the primary control mode. He would also handle all ground ops, thus keeping the current airport systems.

Sensor sensitivity and data link integrity would be two big issues to address, but I expect both of those are close to maturity already.

A remote control location would have many ground-based pilots each monitoring several aircraft, and aided by automation.

The model for all of this is the recent advent of reliable uav's like the Global Hawk. I don't think the public is going to go for HAL the computer flying the plane, but they will go for a half-manned/half-remote if it could be sold as more reliable and more accurate and they get to keep one grey-haired guy with a hat.

[Edited 2006-12-23 03:50:37]
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NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:14 pm

Quoting Curmudgeon (Reply 18):
A remote control location would have many ground-based pilots each monitoring several aircraft, and aided by automation.

Agreed - indeed that already applies to the (relatively small and slow-flying) Global Hawk/Predator.

But the justification for military types like that is the avoidance of casualties - they can go places where it would be too risky to send human pilots. It's hard to see what the justification would be for applying the same systems to civil air transports; the cost of the skilled personnel spread along the routes, plus all the extra systems and instrumentation, woud surely exceed the cost of a couple of pilots sitting up front, instead of one 'part-timer'?

In addition, airliners are probably the most difficult things of all to 'automate,' given that they fly at prodigious speed and enormous height. Also, they operate in three dimensions in a fluid medium (the air), the properties of which are continually changing.

By comparison, it would be virtual child's play to automate cars, which operate in only two dimensions, on predictable paths, and are subject only to well-understood hazards like collisions, which would be much more easily allowed for in any systems.

I think they should make a start with driverless airport taxis, myself. They'd be a damn sight easier to automate - besides being a helluva lot more dangerous than aeroplanes, the way they operate at present.

[Edited 2006-12-23 05:20:37]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
bond007
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:52 pm

Quoting Archie (Reply 8):
Scary thought having a computer fly without human decisions and use of logic. Even if the computer is incredibly fast and all, it will never substitute human ability to make, change and execute decisions.



Quoting Dornier328JET (Reply 13):
However, computers malfunction.

As already mentioned, around 60% of airplane crashes are caused by pilot error.

Quoting Dornier328JET (Reply 13):
The human mind can be great during a disaster. See United 232.

Unfortunately there are many more examples where that wasn't the case. United 232 was an exception...fortunately, but many more crashes have been caused by bad pilot decisions.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 19):
In addition, airliners are probably the most difficult things of all to 'automate,' given that they fly at prodigious speed and enormous height.

Are you familiar with modern airplanes??

...and why is altitude any factor?

They are not far from executing the complete flight automated today.

In most cases it's either flown to a flight plan or directly from ATC instructions (then via autopilot/FMS etc. etc.). Heck, autothrottles, autoland, even autotaxi. I'm not saying pilots aren't a necessary requirement today, but the technology is already available.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 19):
By comparison, it would be virtual child's play to automate cars, which operate in only two dimensions, on predictable paths, and are subject only to well-understood hazards like collisions, which would be much more easily allowed for in any systems.

I think they should make a start with driverless airport taxis, myself. They'd be a damn sight easier to automate - besides being a helluva lot more dangerous than aeroplanes, the way they operate at present.

Wow, are you serious??

We have almost zero automation for automobiles right now, and a huge amount for airplanes.

Childs play - are you kidding me?

Cars operate in much denser environments and MUCH less predictable paths than any aircraft on an IFR flight plan.

Well understood hazards?? Right!

At any one time there are around 5,000 IFR aircraft in the air over the USA. I'd feel safer automating those, than the 5,000 cars on the road in a 50 miles radius from my house!

Oh, it'll come....not too soon, but it'll come  Wink


Jimbo
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Curmudgeon
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 2:23 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 19):
the cost of the skilled personnel spread along the routes

I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear: this would be analagous to a call center, situated in a low cost country and staffed by people who can follow a published procedure without deviation. i.e.-low cost. Satellite communication would eliminate the need for extra locations. A long haul fleet could probably save 80% of the crew costs against a remote control agency fee, and these are the flights with the least degree of difficulty.

I believe that this is coming, and a 20 year old just starting out will probably see it during his (truncated) career.
Jets are for kids
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:04 pm

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 20):
As already mentioned, around 60% of airplane crashes are caused by pilot error.

That appears to be a drastic over-simplification. Pilot error is believed to have been a factor in about 50% or so of accidents - but I can't off-hand recall a single accident where it was the ONLY factor. In any case, I think you're making insufficient allowance for the hundreds of accidents every day which are AVOIDED by skilful pilots......they don't get in the newspapers.

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 20):
Are you familiar with modern airplanes??

Yes, reasonably. Are you in your turn assuming that all of them land only at full Category III-equipped airports? Large numbers of scheduled services land every day at airports that don't even have ILS. What do you do about that, persuade every country in the world to shell out billions to fully-equip ALL runways at ALL airports?

It would have been interesting, to say the least, to be able to judge how pilotless aeroplanes would have coped with the recent extreme weather in places like the UK and the western USA?

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 20):
At any one time there are around 5,000 IFR aircraft in the air over the USA. I'd feel safer automating those, than the 5,000 cars on the road in a 50 miles radius from my house!

Always get that reaction (barely concealed horror  Smile) when I suggest automating cars. But almost anyone can learn to drive a car adequately, far fewer can successfully learn to fly an aeroplane - for the simple reason that it's a far more complicated task, requiring much higher standards of skill and aptitude. So automating cars would be a simpler process.

And, given the size of the road toll, it would make a much bigger contribution to 'safety' in general, considering how many people die on the roads everywhere, every day; and how few die in aeroplanes. Given that money isn't unlimited, I think that would be a much more sensible priority to spend scarce resources on?
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:19 pm

Quoting Curmudgeon (Reply 21):
I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear: this would be analagous to a call center, situated in a low cost country and staffed by people who can follow a published procedure without deviation. i.e.-low cost.

Occurs to me, Curmudgeon, that a high proportion of such stations would have to be established on the world's oceans?  Smile

Quoting Curmudgeon (Reply 21):
A long haul fleet could probably save 80% of the crew costs against a remote control agency fee

As I said, my guess is that one Business Class seat pays the cost of the pilots? Certainly one First Class one would. Given the cost of developing the required additional systems, fully-equipping all airports, building and maintaining all the control centres, recruiting and training all the staff, it's hard to see how you'd ever see any net financial savings?
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
Curmudgeon
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 4:02 pm

I'll do some thinking out loud here: A local airline operates B747-400 aircraft with seven complete crews per aeroplane, each consisting of four pilots. The cost total is 2.1 Million for Captains, 1.5 Million for F/O's, 2.1 Million for S/O's (there are two, hence the higher total).

If an airline could replace all of that with say 5 crew members total per airplane at 200K each (what are they gonna do? Strike?), that's a 4.7 Million per year savings per plane.

Layover costs and other employment expenses would be quartered, saving another approx 2 Million

Less crew rest space required= two or three more seats you can often fill, which would be worth say another million extra revenue.

That's a 7.7 Million savings in 2006 dollars

No extra ground costs at airports at all...the crew member taxis the plane as is done now. All data link from one center only (perhaps a second location can act as a back-up).

Say this local operator has a fleet of 40 long haul airplanes. That totals 308 Million/year. I can't estimate what the remote option would cost, but if it was spread out over a few thousand hulls, it would have to be cheaper by far.
Jets are for kids
 
RiddlePilot215
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 4:23 pm

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 9):
FYI, there has been several threads about this topic that you may be interested in reviewing. One most recently about Boeings patent for an auto-landing system that could be activited remotely and would remove control from the "crew"... or could be activated by the crew but could not be de-activated by them once enganged.

I'm all for an "auto-landing" system...That will reduce delays, improve efficiency, and make flying everything it needs to be...and THEN SOME....But the complete automation of a passenger carrying flight is just downright ridiculous.....See my next comment to the quote below for my reasoning...

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 9):
Oh, it will! And on the other hand, it won't make any pilot errors that are the cause of most accidents.

But...it'll open the door for disasterous computer errors. Secondly, you cannot make any previsions for saying that a computer is better than a human. At certain jobs yes...computers are a lot better...but flying an airplane? Not so much. Computers are logic based machines, they only do what's hard written into their programming. They don't have the ability of emotion and deductive reasoning needed to control an airplane in the most dire of situations.

When a computer runs out of options b/c it's no longer written/ provided for them in their coding, they have errors....

When a human runs out of options b/c they're not trained/ experienced enough, they improvise and use all resources available to come to a safe and logical decision.
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
 
planemanofnz
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 4:37 pm

There may be many hundreds of pilotless aircraft made in the next couple of decades, but remember that there will always be a market for human-piloted flight. There will always be passengers who will feel safer in an actual person's control as opposed to a machine, no matter how sophisticated the technology is.
 
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Tugger
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 5:33 pm

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 20):

By comparison, it would be virtual child's play to automate cars, which operate in only two dimensions, on predictable paths, and are subject only to well-understood hazards like collisions, which would be much more easily allowed for in any systems.



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 22):
But almost anyone can learn to drive a car adequately, far fewer can successfully learn to fly an aeroplane - for the simple reason that it's a far more complicated task, requiring much higher standards of skill and aptitude.

You are completely wrong about the inability of people to learn how to fly a plane. The key is that when humans tire out in a plane they don't just drift off the road and crash. But computers don't tire. And also the military is quickly developing systems for UAV's (and yes they are also developing land based systems too but having much less success. If you actually think that cars only drive in two dimensions you are a fool. Ever been off-roading?) Planes can, in general fly simple flight paths that don't require anything extreme. Oh, and I've flown a plane, its "easy". The hard part is checking all the systems on board and keeping an eye out for traffic around me. Turning, take-offs, even landing are relatively easy. You just have to be able to adjust for variations in the wind etc. Now look, I am GROSSLY oversimplifying what flying is but in general a computer can do it (and nowadays DOES do it) just as well as any living pilot. The "extremes" are situations which any pilot can not be fully trained for and I agree that a living being can probably handle better in many ways but a computer does not panic and it does "know" exactly all the parameters of what the plane is capable of and what the situation it is in. And it can know it better than a living pilot because it can be directly tied into all weather and traffic systems. The overall point is that systems are coming that will handle or know to avoid the problems the occurr in flight or you could have a living pilot on the planer as backup to the computer.
(BOY am I going to get FLAMED for what I just said!)

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 23):
Given the cost of developing the required additional systems, fully-equipping all airports, building and maintaining all the control centres, recruiting and training all the staff, it's hard to see how you'd ever see any net financial savings?

You would just automate those flights to those airports that could handle it first. You wouldn't need to put systems into every airplane.

Tug
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
DCrawley
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 5:56 pm

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 9):
FYI, there has been several threads about this topic that you may be interested in reviewing. One most recently about Boeings patent for an auto-landing system that could be activited remotely and would remove control from the "crew"... or could be activated by the crew but could not be de-activated by them once enganged.

Boeing pulled a quickie on that one.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 14):
That un-interruptable auto-pilot which both Boeing and Airbus is designing is a disturbing trend. I personally think they're exploiting people's fear of terrorism to completely automate the planes and take the pilot out of the cockpit once and for all.

As I said before, I hope the pilot's unions have the common sense to make a federal case out of this thing before it's too late

Well said. I think you will see some interesting developments in the near future about what the unions are preparing to do.

Quoting Tugger (Reply 27):
Now look, I am GROSSLY oversimplifying what flying is but in general a computer can do it (and nowadays DOES do it) just as well as any living pilot. The "extremes" are situations which any pilot can not be fully trained for and I agree that a living being can probably handle better in many ways but a computer does not panic and it does "know" exactly all the parameters of what the plane is capable of and what the situation it is in.

I disagree with this statement. One incident I will point out: AS 465 in YYC (I think, I'll check on the flight numbers tomorrow). There was torching after start up from #2. No indications in the cockpit. Systems showed everything running normally. Smoke started entering the cabin, with flames visible on the right side of aircraft. Still, absolutely NOTHING abnormal upfront. Pilots initiated some emergency proceedures checklists, flight attendants then decided to evacuate so the captain called for left side evac. All of this only took 3 minutes.

The pilots didn't panic, and neither did the flight attendents (whom did a wonderful job). Yes, human error is a large factor in accidents and incidents. However, computers and electronics are far from perfect and no where near stable enough for me to put 100% faith in them.
"Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive."
 
Curmudgeon
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:17 pm

Quoting RiddlePilot215 (Reply 25):
I'm all for an "auto-landing" system...That will reduce delays, improve efficiency, and make flying everything it needs to be...and THEN SOME....But the complete automation of a passenger carrying flight is just downright ridiculous.....See my next comment to the quote below for my reasoning...

We already have that, and it does none of those things. What do you think flies the plane now? We have GPS corrected laser-ring gyro attitude and heading reference platforms that take care of navigating. The route is auto-loaded, the nav package signals the autopilot what to do. From less than 1000 ft after take-off to the roll-out at the end can be done without human input*.

*except for tuning nav radios and handling comms duties. Neither of these would be necessary in a re-invention of the system and controller/plane interface. And I stand by my expectation that single pilot airliners will be the next evolutionary step, in about 20 or so years.
Jets are for kids
 
planemaker
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:37 pm

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 20):
We have almost zero automation for automobiles right now, and a huge amount for airplanes.

Childs play - are you kidding me?

Cars operate in much denser environments and MUCH less predictable paths than any aircraft on an IFR flight plan.

Well understood hazards?? Right!

I don't know if you are aware of the DARPA's Grand Challange?

It was a race between autonomous cars through 130 miles of the Mojave.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?art...C83414B7F0000&pageNumber=1&catID=2

Now that the prize has been won, they have set up the "Urban Challenge"...

DARPA will award prizes for the top three autonomous ground vehicles that compete in a final event where they must safely complete a 60-mile urban real course in fewer than six hours. First prize is $2 million, second prize is $500,000 and third prize is $250,000. To succeed, vehicles must autonomously obey traffic laws while merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating busy intersections and avoiding obstacles.

“Grand Challenge 2005 proved that autonomous ground vehicles can travel significant distances and reach their destination, just as you or I would drive from one city to the next,” said DARPA Director Dr. Tony Tether. “After the success of this event, we believe the robotics community is ready to tackle vehicle operation inside city limits.”


http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/index.asp

Quoting Curmudgeon (Reply 29):
And I stand by my expectation that single pilot airliners will be the next evolutionary step, in about 20 or so years.

I think that it will happen before then. As many have stated, it will appear on cargo flights first.

Quoting Planemanofnz (Reply 26):
There may be many hundreds of pilotless aircraft made in the next couple of decades, but remember that there will always be a market for human-piloted flight. There will always be passengers who will feel safer in an actual person's control as opposed to a machine, no matter how sophisticated the technology is.

Yes, I remember (way back) people refusing to get on elevators without human operators! We laugh now but that will be the same with pilot-less airliners. The technology will be available before the majority of pax will psychologically accept UAV airliners. So we will have SP airliners for a protracted period even though we won't need them.

Quoting RiddlePilot215 (Reply 25):
But...it'll open the door for disasterous computer errors. Secondly, you cannot make any previsions for saying that a computer is better than a human. At certain jobs yes...computers are a lot better...but flying an airplane? Not so much.

What do you call FBW? It makes me chuckle when people talk about computer failures and yet blithely get on these planes. Look at the state-of-the-art today and project developments out 30-40 years!

Name one thing about flying that computers/technology won't be able to do better than a pilot.

If anyone truly believes that there will not be UAV airliners in the future, then they are just simply not aware of what is happening in avionics and AI.

It is not a question of if, but of when!
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:56 pm

One excellent point that no-one (including me) seems to have picked uo on.

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 16):
still predict that within a week of introduction, one of these pilotless wonders will fall out of the bottom of a thunderstorm in a thousand pieces.

I reckon that's one area that no automated system could deal with. All met forecasts are at least an hour out-of-date before they are transmitted - and thunderstorms don't show on shore-based weather radar until they actually happen. A thunderstorm isn't a thunderstorm until the split second that it starts thundering.......

The only SAFE approach is to have human pilots watching the airborne weather radar and reacting quickly to go round them.

One other point. With fully-automated flight, if it ever hapoens, we can FORGET about accident investigation. If a given aeroplane is 'lost without trace' - which WILL happen - in the absence of any skilled human feedback, there will be no way on earth, in almost all cases, that anyone will be able to work out WHY a given accident actually happened.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
planemaker
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:49 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
One excellent point that no-one (including me) seems to have picked uo on.

It really isn't any point at all. And it is surprising that a pilot brought it up as he should really be more aware of the current technology and therefore realize that it is a non-issue... especially in 30 years.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
One other point. With fully-automated flight, if it ever hapoens, we can FORGET about accident investigation. If a given aeroplane is 'lost without trace' - which WILL happen - in the absence of any skilled human feedback, there will be no way on earth, in almost all cases, that anyone will be able to work out WHY a given accident actually happened.

They'll easily know why!! And with the pilotless airliner they'll be able to eliminate the cause of over 50% of accidents.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:57 pm

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 32):
And with the pilotless airliner they'll be able to eliminate the cause of over 50% of accidents.

As someone who has flown aeroplanes, albeit mostly light ones, Planemaker, I'm getting a bit tired of this.

Please provide forthwith the evidence on which you base your view that over 50% of aeroplane accidents are caused by pilot error.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
planemaker
Posts: 5411
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:10 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 33):
Please provide forthwith the evidence on which you base your view that over 50% of aeroplane accidents are caused by pilot error.

Aside from the fact that it has been published repeatedly in ALL the major aviation periodicals... you just have to go to the Boeing web site to view their airliner analysis for the cause of accidents...

Flight Crew: 55% (CFIT was the overwhelming reason)
Airplane: 17%
Weather: 13%
Misc./Other: 7%
Airport/ATC: 5%
Maintenance: 3%

So, returning to your point that "there will be no way on earth, in almost all cases, that anyone will be able to work out WHY a given accident actually happened", it is abundantly obvious that there is absolutely no basis to your statement.  Smile
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:16 pm

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 34):
you just have to go to the Boeing web site to view their airliner analysis for the cause of accidents...

You saying that Boeing - an AIRCRAFT manufacturer - doesn't have a vested interest in blaming pilots rather than aeroplanes?

Please provide a more objective source?

[Edited 2006-12-23 14:20:54]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
bond007
Posts: 4423
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:22 pm

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 30):
It was a race between autonomous cars through 130 miles of the Mojave.

Not quite the same is it  Wink

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
The only SAFE approach is to have human pilots watching the airborne weather radar and reacting quickly to go round them.

...and this cannot be done by computer??? Only Humans?

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 22):
But almost anyone can learn to drive a car adequately, far fewer can successfully learn to fly an aeroplane - for the simple reason that it's a far more complicated task, requiring much higher standards of skill and aptitude. So automating cars would be a simpler process.

But, we ALREADY have automated aircraft. The technology is here today!

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 22):
Are you in your turn assuming that all of them land only at full Category III-equipped airports? Large numbers of scheduled services land every day at airports that don't even have ILS. What do you do about that, persuade every country in the world to shell out billions to fully-equip ALL runways at ALL airports?

First of all I don;t think anybody suggested that ALL flights would be automated on day one (or ever).

GPS technology is almost ready now for precision approaches with no equipment required at the airport. In 20-30 years I have no doubt that GPS (or similar) technology will be available for any approach at any airport.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 33):
As someone who has flown aeroplanes, albeit mostly light ones, Planemaker, I'm getting a bit tired of this.

Please provide forthwith the evidence on which you base your view that over 50% of aeroplane accidents are caused by pilot error.

Actually the Boeing report is one of the most credible reports, cited by the NTSB, FAA and other organizations.

The fact of the matter, whether you like it or not, is MOST accidents are pilot related (whether it's 40% or 80% - it's the largest single cause), and while few crashes are avoided because of human decisons, these are outweighed by the crashes. Also, there is nothing to say that these 'automated' flights aren't being monitored by humans anyway - when a problem occurs, humans can make decisions - in a FAR less stressful position thah in the cockpit (remember many crashes are caused by distractions of some type).

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
VEEREF
Posts: 560
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:35 pm

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 32):
It really isn't any point at all. And it is surprising that a pilot brought it up as he should really be more aware of the current technology and therefore realize that it is a non-issue... especially in 30 years.

Really? How many thousands of hours have YOU spent picking your way through lines of T storms in the midwest or Africa?


How many times has YOUR onboard wx radar said there's nothing ahead, while you're looking out the window at one hell of a lightning display?

Sorry, but right now weather flying is still more art then science, as much as you'd like to believe otherwise.

MAYBE 30 years from now, but "current" technology isn't remotely ready.
Airplanes are cool. Aviation sucks.
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:40 pm

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 36):
...and this cannot be done by computer??? Only Humans?

It COULD be done, Bond007 - but only by a continuous datalink providing real-time visual relays of the weather radar screen of each individual airlner - plus the pay of a full-time ATC observer to note and act on the information. I don't readily see how that ATC guy's salary would be materially different from that of yer av'rage second pilot? Not if he was going to be much use, anyway?

[quote=Bond007,reply=36]The fact of the matter, whether you like it or not, is MOST accidents are pilot related (whether it's 40% or 80%[/quote

You could say exactly the same about car accidents; since all cars are currently driven by human drivers. So why not start with car automation, which would save a lot more lives?

Then, if that works, move on to the more complex (though currently less dangerous) aviation field?

[Edited 2006-12-23 14:44:54]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
bond007
Posts: 4423
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:17 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 38):
You could say exactly the same about car accidents; since all cars are currently driven by human drivers. So why not start with car automation, which would save a lot more lives?

Then, if that works, move on to the more complex (though currently less dangerous) aviation field?

Personally, since we have done almost nothing with car automation, we'd be starting from scratch. There simply is no existing infrastructure for automobile automation.

An aircraft can fly, land, taxi, right now, almost fully automated.

By automating my car trip what am I saving - I'm still sitting at the front??

True, I might get a safer drive, but I'm not against that technology being phased in (e.g. cannot drive through red lights etc.)....but I'M still in the car - one of the objects of flight automation is the cost saving of the pilots, right??
Even automating a bus - the driver is hardly a huge cost as compared to 2 pilots.

We have trains now that are fully automated - where we can do it, it's already with us.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 38):
It COULD be done, Bond007 - but only by a continuous datalink providing real-time visual relays of the weather radar screen of each individual airlner - plus the pay of a full-time ATC observer to note and act on the information. I don't readily see how that ATC guy's salary would be materially different from that of yer av'rage second pilot? Not if he was going to be much use, anyway?

Do you really think in 30 years time we won't have a system where it can steer around clouds? I know I'm simplifying this, but that's basically all it is. We have the radar data now - we don't it to be interpreted by a human.
In 10-30 years we'll have Infrared/visual cameras that'll easily be able to do this kind thing.


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
flyorski
Posts: 725
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:23 pm

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 3):
Instead of pilotless aircraft, how about idiotless airline boardrooms?

That would be nice......
"None are more hopelessly enslaved, than those who falsly believe they are free" -Goethe
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:33 pm

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 39):
By automating my car trip what am I saving - I'm still sitting at the front??

But you'd be safe from any risk of 'driver error,' Bond007?
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
planemaker
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:48 pm

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 37):
How many times has YOUR onboard wx radar said there's nothing ahead, while you're looking out the window at one hell of a lightning display?

You're obviously not flying in a 777 with a WXR-2100.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 38):
You could say exactly the same about car accidents; since all cars are currently driven by human drivers. So why not start with car automation, which would save a lot more lives?

They already started by a little steps... many car manufacturers already have adpative cruise control, radar auto-braking, and "stay-in-your-lane" technology (not to mention auto-parking in the LS 260!) Plus, developing fully autonomous car operation in a city is what the Urban Challenge is about.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 38):
Then, if that works, move on to the more complex (though currently less dangerous) aviation field?

Automating flying is a lot easier than automating urban driving - which is far more complex!

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 39):
one of the objects of flight automation is the cost saving of the pilots, right??

Safety should be included, not just the cost savings (though you would also be reducing TO weight by 350+ pounds)... plus potential additional revenue from extra seats by not having a cockpit.

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 39):
Do you really think in 30 years time we won't have a system where it can steer around clouds? I know I'm simplifying this, but that's basically all it is. We have the radar data now - we don't it to be interpreted by a human.

There is already an automated system that has been evaluated and was successful. It is being enhanced and will form part of NGATS.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
NAV20
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:52 pm

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 42):
Automating flying is a lot easier than automating urban driving - which is far more complex!

Why?
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
bond007
Posts: 4423
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:20 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 43):
Why?

Just take a very simple example and it's easy to see.

The short drive to my supermarket requires around 20 turns, 4 stop signs, and 3 sets of lights. Some of the road is single lane, some is 3 lane - do I have a system that automatically allows passing ? (somewhat complicated). There is construction on one of roads where I need to make some deviations. Oh, I also need to get some gas. A dog ran out in front of me on one of the road....then a fire truck came up behind me and wanted to pass. There was an accident at the lights and I had to take directions from a police officer. Around 50% of the roads were curved roads. There was a car with a trailer coming from the opposite direction and the trailer wheels were on my side of the road - I had to move to the right. Then I had to find a parking spot. As I was driving in the parking lot - people were reversing into my path and a woman was carrying her baby to the car.

...do you not see that this road trip allows for very little automation without changing much of the infrastructure (roads, parking lots, etc. etc. etc.) ??

...and I currently have NO automation in my vehicle (except the standard).


Now....I fly from A to B. I taxi via 5 straight turns. I turn onto the runway - depart - make 10 turns in the air - then a precision approach, land, and taxi to my pre-assigned date. A high percentage of that flights is already (or could be) automated. Sure there are many exceptions that could happen to my flight, but IMO no where near as complex as driving my car round town.

Even if we didn't have autothrottles, GPS, INS, FMS, ILS, Autopilots, radar, I'd still argue it's simpler to automate ... but we already do have these systems anyway.


Jimbo

[Edited 2006-12-23 16:21:56]
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
planemaker
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:44 am

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 44):
...and I currently have NO automation in my vehicle (except the standard).

I guess that you don't drive the LS 460 or an E-Class.  Wink

However, at a much lower price point, the Civic in the UK offers voice repsonsive GPS, radar breaking, adaptive cruise control and the "stay-in-your-lane" steering!

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 44):
I taxi via 5 straight turns.

If Sir Richard has his way, soon that will be one long tow and then a taxi onto the active! Big grin

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 44):
make 10 turns in the air

And in the future it should be 4, at most, I would say.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
archie
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2000 7:58 am

RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:03 am

If 50% or 55% of all accident are caused by pilot error, that just means we need to better train pilots to avoid 55% of the accidents.
Computers will never be able to "think". They can process information faster...yes, but they can not think by themselves. They are not able to differenciate between A and B. Humans can! Humans program the computer to do things faster, but humans will ALWAYS have the ability to think. That�s my opinion.

I want to be a pilot, and a pilotless airplane is not only going to take my chances of doing that job away, it will scare the hell out of me if I�m a passenger and my life depends on a machine that can not even think.
I say computer helping process with humans making decisions is better.

Best,
Archie
 
planemaker
Posts: 5411
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RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:19 am

Quoting Archie (Reply 46):
Computers will never be able to "think". They can process information faster...yes, but they can not think by themselves. They are not able to differenciate between A and B. Humans can! Humans program the computer to do things faster, but humans will ALWAYS have the ability to think. That�s my opinion.

You would be very surprised at how well computers can "think" right now! A common, but low level example, of thinking is chess... computers have been beating the best players for many years now. However, the progress that scientests have been acheiving towards AI is really quite amazing. AI will here in 20-30 years.

Quoting Archie (Reply 46):
I want to be a pilot, and a pilotless airplane is not only going to take my chances of doing that job away, it will scare the hell out of me if I�m a passenger and my life depends on a machine that can not even think.

Unfortunately, automation has been taking jobs non-stop... starting with the Industrial Revolution. There use to be 5, then 4, then 3 and finally 2 crew in the cockpit (working down to 1 within 20 years). However, if you become a an airline pilot now, I don't think that you'll have anything to worry about in your career. Airlines won't, and logisticaly can't, switch the entire global fleet overnight when pilotless airliners start appearing in ~30 years.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
bond007
Posts: 4423
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:02 am

Quoting Planemaker (Reply 45):
I guess that you don't drive the LS 460 or an E-Class.

Actually, I was exaggerating somewhat  Wink

I meant, no automation that allows me to keep my eyes off the road, or hands off the wheel ... unlike a modern aircraft.

Yes, I do actually have a lot of automation ...GPS, parking assist, radar controlled cruise control ..... you were close with your car models  Smile


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
archie
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2000 7:58 am

RE: Pilotless Aircraft Concept Back In The News

Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:14 am

Hey,

Maybe a computer can beat people in chess, but they are still programmed by a person, they do not just create themselves and play chess. That is what I mean by not being able to think. As I said, they can process a lot of information fast, and if the person who programmed it did a good job, it can do many things. But it still has no ability to think. Computers have no life, they are machines. As much as one wants to belive they are alive, they are not.

If my computer gets stuck or freezes(and with Windows that is VERY common hahaha), I restart it, not the machine. If it has a problem with a program, a person fixes the computer. A person programs the computer. My computer will not have life of it�s own ever.

Best,
Archie

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