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The issue of pilots using automatic pilot to fly an airplane for most a flight is pretty widely known and accepted.  Still, I think most people find comfort knowing that there are really human hands and an experienced pilot's brains ready to take over in case of problems, or in situations where human judgement is called for.

 

More and more, there's a push to do away with pilots and to have flights be pilotless (ie. on automatic pilot the entire journey).  Here's a few articles relating to this topic:

 

 http://theworklifejournal.word...ife-of-an-autopilot/

 

http://www.bbc.com/future/stor...nes-plan-to-take-off

 

I'm curious about your take on this subject.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Don't care?  Please answer the survey and fill in some of your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Last edited by TravelandNature
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Anyone remember the movie Westworld? Where nothing can go wrong...go wrong....go wrong...

 

I'm okay with the pilot using automation, but the idea of automation REPLACING the pilot....nah... I want someone who can grab the controls and fly by the seat of his or her pants, not have the plane crash because some tiny part shorted out.

 

Same goes for robot cars on the highway. I don't wanna get killed head-on by a car reacting to a sunspot in GPS.

 

OTOH if you could get government on autopilot...oh, yeah...that's been tried...

Originally Posted by Bling:

Google made that self drive car.  It seems to work fine.  Getting on a self drive airplane is less trouble.  there would be no crazy drivers passing on the right or tailgating.

Yes, Bling, but flying is a three dimensional activity, not a two dimensional one, at at gar greater speeds!  And Google is not infallible by any stretch of the imagination.

Have we all forgotten the HAL 9000 in "A Space Odyssey"

 

"I know everything hasn't been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it's going to be alright again...I feel much better now, I really do...Look, Dave, I can see you're really upset about this...I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over...I know I've made some very poor decisions recently..."

Yes, Bling, but flying is a three dimensional activity, not a two dimensional one, at at gar greater speeds!  And Google is not infallible by any stretch of the imagination.

 

Sure, flying is three dimensional but the dimensions do not change.  The ground is the ground, however you get to it.   The airport runways do not move right and left.  The skies are now virtual highways, with planes flying along set paths.   That is data for the computer guidance system.  

 

Have there been problems with the Google car ?  It is interesting technology.

 

As for wanting a human in the aircraft, we can all tell stories of car "accidents" that involved human error, not the mechanics of the machine.

Wouldn't the self fly plane sense the heat or something from the nasty intruder aircraft long before that near collision ?  In that case, the self fly plane would take evasive maneuvers.   Then again, if it were also a self fly plane on the runway, it would "know better" than to be there in the first place, yes ?

Well, of course Bling is right that a completely automated system wouldn't have resulted in that situation...assuming it was functioning properly (note the Westworld reference above).

 

That's why so many systems (cruise control in your car, autopilot on a plane, driverless transit trains) all have a human override built in.

The Air France flight 447 that went down with all souls lost, out of Rio, Brazil in 2009 would have benefitted from a greater system override of the pilots misinterpretation of their flight 'status'. Anything that can reduce pilot error OR system error has to be desirable.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  Henry Miller

What would seem perhaps most beneficial would be not only to have auto-pilot type systems with human override but also to have auto-pilot functions that remain active while humans "drive," providing a second opinion. "Hey, human: are you sure you don't want to slow down/speed up a little here?"

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

I don't mind autopilot and I don't mind a second opinion from a computer, but I don't like the computer deciding when to "fly" and override the humans, unless with very clear program instructions (eg. If plane is clearly out of control.  JFK Jr could have used such a system to prevent his plane crash because he was completely disoriented when he crashed his private plane)

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Originally Posted by Bling:

 

Have there been problems with the Google car ?  It is interesting technology.

 

As for wanting a human in the aircraft, we can all tell stories of car "accidents" that involved human error, not the mechanics of the machine.

Maybe, maybe not. But there's only a couple or so of those on the road for testing. Whole lot different in a sky full of people, don't you think?

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