Airbus without pilot The concept of pilotless commercial jet flight has been bandied about for years.
But while the technology has been there, there’s been little concrete evidence to suggest autonomous flying could ever really get off the bottom — so far .
Airbus has confirmed one among its test aircraft took off automatically at Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France last December.
The European aerospace company conducted a series of successful tests on autopilot last month, with two pilots on standby.
According to Airbus, the A350-1000 achieved eight automatic takeoffs over a period of 4 and a half hours.
“While completing alignment on the runway, expecting clearance from traffic control, we engaged the autopilot,” Airbus pilot Captain Yann Beaufils explained during a statement.
“We moved the throttle levers to the takeoff setting and that we monitored the aircraft. It began to move and accelerate automatically maintaining the runway center line, at the precise rotation speed as entered within the system.”
“The nose of the aircraft began to lift up automatically to require the expected takeoff pitch value and a couple of seconds later we were airborne.”
In an video released by Airbus, one among the pilots is seen together with his hands faraway from the controls because the A350-1000 successfully flies .
This was achieved via new image recognition technology installed directly on the aircraft, instead of an aircraft landing System (ILS), which sends radio waves up from the runway, providing pilots with vertical and horizontal guidance.
In 2019, a survey of twenty-two ,000 people by US software firm Ansys indicated that 70% of travelers would be prepared to fly in fully autonomous aircraft.
In fact, the notion has often been cited as an answer for pilot shortages also as how to chop costs.
At present, commercial flights already land with the help of on-board computers, with pilots manually flying the aircraft for just a couple of minutes on the average .
However, many have raised concerns about the security of pilotless planes, particularly after the 2 Boeing 737 MAX jet crashes of 2019, which are linked to a software issue.
“This isn’t a matter of technology — it is a matter of interaction with the regulators, the perception within the traveling public,” Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer for Airbus, told the Associated Press last June when questioned about the likelihood of pilotless planes.
He added that the Boeing disasters “highlighted and underlined the necessity for absolute, uncompromising safety during this industry, whether from Airbus, Boeing or the other plane.”
Airbus says it also plans to trial automatic vision-based taxi and landing sequences later this year.