Self-Flying Airliners May Soon Become Reality
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The advent of artificial intelligence has changed the way we approach and solve some of today’s biggest transportation-related challenges, one of which is to raise industry safety standards. At the forefront of that push for improvement are tech companies such as Google and Uber, working on projects from developing self-driving cars to automating air traffic control. Recently, Boeing announced that it, too, will be jumping on the AI bandwagon, but this time for a slightly different reason — global pilot shortage.
As demand for air travel rises, the need for more pilots has become a pressing issue, outpacing airlines’ ability to hire and train pilots — a process that can take up to two years. This has led the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturer to explore self-flying technology, potentially reducing the number of pilots required on a long-haul passenger flight from five to three or two.
“When I look at the future, I see a need for 41,000 commercial jet airplanes over the course of the next 20 years. And that means we are going to need something like 617,000 more pilots — that’s a lot of pilots,” said Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice president for product development. “One of the ways that may be solved is by having some type of autonomous behavior.”
While commercial airliners already have the ability to take off, cruise and land with minimal pilot intervention, Boeing is keen to develop the technology to allow minimal human interaction across the entire flight. The idea may seem far-fetched to many, but Sinnett, a pilot himself, believes that “the basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available.”
For this self-flying technology to really take off, it will first have to comply with the strict aviation regulations that dictate aviation safety. To this end, Boeing will use its advanced cockpit simulators to build and test self-flying algorithms this summer. If all goes well, the aircraft manufacturer may implement it on an actual flying aircraft as soon as some time next year.
H/T: The Independent
Featured image of a Boeing 787 cockpit courtesy of Nick via Flickr.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees