DailyDirt: Robotic Planes… Seriously, And Don't Call Me Shirley.
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Human pilots get tired and need sleep — and some airline pilots get some rest at “crash pads” when they’re off duty. Knowing that might not be too comforting to many passengers, but who’s willing to let a robot fly a few hundred people around? Autonomous planes are getting more advanced all the time, though mostly for unmanned missions with aircraft that couldn’t possibly carry people on board. Maybe someday we’ll have autonomous Jetson-cars… in the meantime, here are a few links to some interesting UAVs and flight automation.
- Northrop Grumman’s X-47B is an autonomous combat aircraft that aims to be launching from and landing on aircraft carriers in a few years. Another trick will be aerial refueling, eliminating the limitation of onboard fuel capacity. [url]
- Would you believe the CIA developed a dragonfly robot in the 1970s as a super-secret intelligence gathering tool? Would you believe they also developed mobile phones hidden in shoes? Robotic fish? Cone of silence? [url]
- Last year, a solar-powered plane broke all the non-stop endurance records by flying for a week — and it could have stayed up indefinitely. Cheap solar planes to replace telecommunication satellites would be a nice next step. [url]
- The safety of flight automation is being studied — finding out that both human error and automation errors can cause serious problems. Nobody’s perfect. [url]
- To discover more cool sites about aviation, check out what’s currently flying around StumbleUpon. [url]
By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.
Filed Under: autonomous, cia, dragonfly, pilots, planes, solar-powered
Companies: northrop grumman
Comments on “DailyDirt: Robotic Planes… Seriously, And Don't Call Me Shirley.”
It’s not so much safety as it is profits.
The FAA limits the number of hours a pilot can work (including traveling to where the jet is), and puts many more restrictions on them to insure that they are well rested when they are flying.
The biggest problem for pilots is boredom. In my experience almost all pilots are type A personalities, and once they take off the planes do fly themselves. An emergency might crop up at any second that requires their attention, but until it does the pilot and copilot have nothing to do. That’s where some of the human error you’re hearing about comes from.
The age of Ender approaches.
Anybody interested in a robotic hummingbird UAV for spying?
Youtube – theworacle – AeroVironment/DARPA Nano Hummingbird UAV flying
Now maybe Disney can have their Tinkerbell’s to land on the lanterns.
Engineers can only design systems to handle situations that they anticipate. A thinking pilot can potentially come up with a solution in such a case whereas a computer could not.
An aerospace engineer once commented that the reason we have people in the front of airliners is because people stand
a better chance than a machine of solving an unanticipated problem. With that exception,
automating the process would be easy, we’re almost there now.