With last week's horrific crash of a Germanwings plane and the release of videos showing the success of driverless cars, some have been wondering whether it could be time for remote-controlled pilotless planes in commercial air travel. Just last week, Jason Koebler of Motherboard declared "It's Time For Robot Pilots."
The topic is not new. The airline industry has been working on automating the pilot function for years. In 2004, Boeing applied for a patent on an "uninterruptible autopilot system." The Boeing technology could even land a plane if the pilot or cockpit security was compromised.
During coverage of Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370, CNN explained the "uninterruptible autopilot system."
Back in 2012, TheBlaze covered NASA's X-37B, a pilotless space plane.
Last fall, a Vanity Fair story on the 2009 crash of Air France flight 447 closed with a discussion of the advances made in technology that could ultimately mean the end of human pilots on planes, "Over time the automation will expand to handle in-flight failures and emergencies, and as the safety record improves, pilots will gradually be squeezed from the cockpit altogether."
Google's "Project Wing" is also looking into pilotless air travel. The company is conducting experiments in Australia.
Amazon's drone delivery program is also pushing the FAA to allow a fleet of pilotless delivery aircraft into the skies.
If driverless cars are just ten years away, can pilotless planes be far behind?
Would you fly on a plane without a human pilot in the cockpit?
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