I think autopilot is as far as automation is going to go, but what are your guys' take on this subject? Are our jobs at risk during our lifetime?
There's really not that many significant cost advantages in UAV use right now, though. They still require an operator on the ground. When one ground based pilot can fly multiple UAVs in CONTROLLED airspace simultaneously, then I'll believe it.I think freight may be at risk. It will be quite some time before pilotless passenger transport will be accepted. The Global Hawk and similar UAV used by the the military are phenomenal. I would be amazed if there was not some transfer of that technology to civilian use.
:yeahthat:I think freight may be at risk. It will be quite some time before pilotless passenger transport will be accepted. The Global Hawk and similar UAV used by the the military are phenomenal. I would be amazed if there was not some transfer of that technology to civilian use.
Would you venture to say the the F22 is the last piloted air force fighter jet made?I think unmanned aircraft are a military thing. I highly doubt we will see unmanned aircraft in the civilian world, and I can guarantee most people would not step foot on an airplane that isn't being driven, with at least a human being there to oversee things. I know I will not. I just don't see that happening.
I do think we will continue to see more automation, but not unmanned.
:yeahthat:I think you're going to get some fairly biased, yet VERY educated results from your poll on this forum. My continual argument about automation is this: flying a 50,000lbs. incendiary device with human life on board has much less to do with stick and rudder than it has to do with sound decision-making and thorough knowledge of regulations, company opspecs, and aircraft capability. I will take all the automation I can get so I can focus more on the "bigger picture" versus dealing with a yaw monster.
Humans need to be in the loop, whether they be on the ground in a box or in the air in 50 years. Just like programming an FMS, the software coding is "garbage in, garbage out." I can't tell you how many times my altitude has failed to capture, ADCs have failed, or things just plain change at the last minute. Are planes capable of flying themselves? SURE! But that's the last thing I WANT to do when negotiating a squall line while approaching bingo fuel.
Also, even the predator and other highly sophisticated UAVs HEAVILY, HEAVILY, rely on human operators to shoot visual approaches. The Mark I eyeball is pretty tough to compete with when turning a 2 mile base-to-final in a category D aircraft.
Lastly, as automation increases, our playing field has become more difficult. Closer separation, lower minima, and the like have made situational awareness more critical than ever. No longer are we tracking NDBs at 140KIAS - we're shooting RNP approaches through the mountains and SLOPs across the ocean. It'd be like bagging on Tiger Woods for not using Mahogany woods instead ot Titanium... the courses have gotten a LOT tougher.
Good points, but I can't tell you how many times I've been vectored for an approach only to look at the MFD and see 50-70 knot winds at 7,000 feet. That type of wind would make some dirigibles go backwards, wouldn't it (seriously asking, I have NO clue)?Sure, they go slower, but using technology available today, real transportation times probably wouldn't decrease by much (compared to airplanes) and the sheer load capacity would be a profitable tradeoff.
:yeahthat:IMHO, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.
Just a few things to think about.
The airspace is an integrated system, and there will be issues of spacing flights operating by pilots and flights operated by robots and the safe integration of such aircraft.
Except for a handful of companies, freight companies tend to buy used aircraft. Any new design of robot machine is going to have a high initial capitol cost. While the cost of a flight crew won't be an issue, the maintenance of the electronics that replace a flight crew will be an issue. Anyone who's flown an aircraft with redundant systems, or an electric plane, or an older plane will tell you that maintenance is a huge issue. Until those costs get below what they can spend today, or the ROI is huge, I don't see many companies purchasing aircaft that cost significantly more to acquire to do the same job as ones they can get for a fraction of the price.