Ro­bot pi­lots may some­day fly pas­sen­ger and cargo planes

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

Think of it as the airborne cousin to the self-driving car: a ro­bot in the cock­pit to help hu­man pi­lots fly pas­sen­gers and cargo — and even­tu­ally even re­place them.

The gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try are col­lab­o­rat­ing on a pro­gram that seeks to re­place the sec­ond hu­man pi­lot in two-per­son flight crews with a ro­bot co-pi­lot that never tires, gets bored, feels stressed out or gets dis­tracted.

The pro­gram is funded by the De­fense Ad­vanced Re­search Projects Agency, the Pen­tagon’s arm for development of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, and run by Aurora Flight Sciences, a pri­vate con­trac­tor.

With both the mil­i­tary and air­lines strug­gling with short­ages of trained pi­lots, of­fi­cials say they see an ad­van­tage to re­duc­ing the num­ber of pi­lots re­quired to fly large air­craft while at the same time in­creas­ing safety and ef­fi­ciency by hav­ing a ro­bot pick up the mun­dane tasks of fly­ing.

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