Self-Flying Planes – Good Thing or Bad Thing?
You know, when I first heard about the coming of self-flying airplanes, my first thought was, "We already kinda have that with autopilot, don't we?'.
Then I read this article from Forbes. While there are still legal and technical problems being worked out with driverless cars, both with the vehicles themselves and with the people driving them doing things they aren't supposed to (like sleeping while the car is in motion or turning on the self-driving features and then getting in the back seat), other companies are forging ahead and working on pilotless passenger and commercial aircraft.
According to the Forbes article, multiple companies are working on this, and some are starting with cargo planes. Just like an autonomous car, there is currently still an actual human on board to take control if need be, but the flight is otherwise done largely without human involvement. The companies working on self-flying planes hope to not need human intervention at all at some point.
It appears that the plan is to start with autonomous cargo planes, then smaller aircraft, before finally shifting to large passenger jets.
I have to admit, I don't know how I feel about this just yet. I'm all for progress and innovation, I just think we should work out the bugs in self-driving cars before we turn to airplanes. I understand the idea behind wanting to use autonomy to address issues like a shortage of pilots, but I still don't like the idea of getting rid of pilots completely.