The end of driving and pilots? Autonomous systems…

Science fiction becomes reality! But who would have thought that it was during only 50 years that everything will be invented. It was thought that Jules Verne’s novels were purely science fiction, like flying to the moon, going underwater in a submarine… But most of what he wrote became reality.

In this concept, we might be witnesses of the disappearance of drivers and airplane pilots!

As we’ve talked about in our previous article, a lot of car companies like BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac have taken driving to new frontiers, by testing long distance autonomous cars. If you read the article “Autonomous cars, the future”  you’ll have an idea about the achievements that we’re talking about.

Moreover, planes are now becoming autonomous too. An artificial intelligence system was installed on a Boeing’s Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) helicopter that made decisions on where to land and was going to do the landing procedure by itself. The robotics research was made in a cooperation between Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center, roboticists from Carnegie Mellon University and aerospace experts from Piasecki Aircraft and Boeing.

According to the article Robocopters to the Rescue unmanned flights and airplanes are not new inventions especially for the US army. “In Afghanistan, the U.S. Marines have used two unmanned Lockheed Martin K-Max helicopters to deliver thousands of tons of cargo, and the Navy has used some of its 20-odd shipborne Northrop Grumman unmanned Fire Scout helicopters to patrol for pirates off the coast of Africa”. Nevertheless it was important for an AI system to land a helicopter, since it will be used for medevac rescues in rough and uneven terrain, not like flying and landing airplanes that will use runways.

In the end, even though the helicopter would have landed itself flawlessly, the pilot observing the system stopped the automatic landing and moved the controls to manual. It will surely take a couple of years or more before these systems are implemented successfully on airplanes. As for the cars, the companies mentioned above speculated that it will take till 2020 for them to sell fully autonomous cars.

For more information about the Robocopter click here

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