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That pilot in the cockpit may someday be a robot
Technology
Published in 18-10-2016
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[...] inside the cockpit, in the right seat, a robot with spindly metal tubes and rods for arms and legs and a claw hand grasping the throttle, was doing the flying. The demonstration was part of a government and industry collaboration that is attempting to replace the second human pilot in two-person flight crews with robot co-pilots that never tire, get bored, feel stressed out or become distracted. The program, known as Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System or ALIAS, is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and run by Aurora Flight Sciences, a private contractor. With both the military and airlines struggling with shortages of trained pilots, defense officials say they see an advantage to reducing the number of pilots required to fly large planes or helicopters while at the same time making operations safer and more efficient by having a robot step in to pick up the mundane tasks of flying. [...] the robot faces a lot of hurdles before it's ready to start replacing human pilots, not the least of which is that it would require a massive rewrite of Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations. Elements of the ALIAS technology could be adopted within the next five years, officials said, much the way automakers are gradually adding automated safety features that are the building blocks of self-driving technology to cars today. Keith Hagy, the Air Line Pilots Association's director of engineering and safety, pointed to instances of multiple system failures during flights where only through the heroic efforts of pilots able to improvise were lives saved.
Reference: www.chron.com