Aviation Industry Exploring Autonomous Technology
PHOENIX, AZ. – June 12, 2018 (tucson.com) According to an online article from tucson.com, Arizona is a hub for aviation testing, and the skies above the state could start to see more automated technology testing in the years ahead, including pilotless technology.*
Because of Arizona’s clear skies and extreme heat, the state makes an ideal location for testing new airplane and aviation technology. Pilots have clear views and can also test the abilities of new engines to withstand high temperatures, as well as the effectiveness of in-flight Wi-Fi and air conditioning. But the aviation industry might be moving toward testing a new kind of technology in the Arizona skies: pilotless technology.
In an age in which self-driving cars are carving out a greater and greater presence on public roadways, and drones are carrying delivery packages over residential rooftops, the aviation industry is starting to look at how it might benefit from the same autonomous technology powering these machines. Freight companies, for instance, are tempted by the amount of money they could save by using computers to fly their planes, rather than paid human pilots. And with an average of 5,000 commercial domestic flights in the air at the same peak times each day, airlines are eager to see options for reducing risks in the crowded skies.
Two points primarily drive the development of autonomous technology: money and safety. The aviation industry sees opportunities to benefit from the technology on both these fronts, but it will have an up-hill battle in adopting autonomous features. Public support of self-driving cars has dwindled in the wake of high-profile vehicle accidents around the United States, and polls show people are even less comfortable with self-piloting planes.
With the idea of a pilotless passenger flight beyond the realm of comprehension for most people, aviation has a long and slow path ahead if it wants to keep up with other travel and delivery industries.
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