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View Full Version : Single pilot planes are coming.


Groundpointfife
04-20-2018, 05:36 AM
If cargo planes are allowed to be single pilot, what are the chances airlines won't want to have the same cost reductions?

US Pilots hit out at FAA study into single-pilot cargo aircraft ǀ Air Cargo News
http://www.aircargonews.net/news/airline/freighter-operator/single-view/news/us-pilots-hit-out-at-faa-study-into-single-pilot-cargo-aircraft.html


Deathwish
04-20-2018, 05:50 AM
“Single pilot planes are coming”

Seems like that’s the opposite of what the article concludes. I’m with you though, it’s in the future but this link doesn’t suppprt the idea that it’s coming anytime soon.

jcountry
04-20-2018, 06:54 AM
“Single pilot planes are coming”

Seems like that’s the opposite of what the article concludes. I’m with you though, it’s in the future but this link doesn’t suppprt the idea that it’s coming anytime soon.

Probably not in our careers.

Airlines took a huge step forward with CRM. Why the hell take a huge step back.

A “pilot” on the ground is not worth half a crap. Single pilot is probably decades away-if at all.

If it were safe, why wouldn’t cruise ships do it? (God knows, cruise ship companies are 100% as cheapskates as any airline could ever dream to be.)


rickair7777
04-20-2018, 06:57 AM
This is significant in the sense that it's really the first time a major regulatory body has even hinted at considering this. Not sure if they think it's actually worth looking at, or just going through the motions at the behest of some political master (who in turn is beholden to people who operate big cargo planes).

FlyingMaryJane
04-20-2018, 06:59 AM
Thats why there will NEVER BE A PILOT SHORTAGE!! They will always find a way to take care of it, Airbus, Boeing, NASA have been studying for years about replacing pilots with robots and machines... it first starts with single pilot and then the robots take over, first starting at the Fedex UPS level and my opinion is we are less than 5 years away for the cargo sector to be experimenting with this in the cockpits.... a little longer until the airlines get it though... 10 years though is an eternity in technology. Dont be shocked if in 10yrs or less the airlines start with the 1 pilot standard with the assistance of a robot in the right seat! Its all how you sell it over the media... technology is sold as "so cool" now a days on the TV after 5 years of successful robot flying and 1 pilot as the backup on Fedex and UPS flights then its gonna be "so cool" to have a robot fly you to Paris! It's coming guys, and you better get ready for it! Especially the young guys... The airlines don't give a crap about you...

jcountry
04-20-2018, 07:00 AM
This is significant in the sense that it's really the first time a major regulatory body has even hinted at considering this. Not sure if they think it's actually worth looking at, or just going through the motions at the behest of some political master (who in turn is beholden to people who operate big cargo planes).

I think it’s much more of a threat to cargo operators.

Overwater first.

I’d really be worried about this if I flew cargo.

Unfortunately, the general public-and their dumbass DC scumbag reps-give not 1/2 a rat’s ass what happens on cargo flights.

BoilerUP
04-20-2018, 07:16 AM
This was written into the FAA reauthorization by politicians.

It’s a STUDY.

Good on ALPA/IPA/IBT for trying to squash even a study - camel’s nose under the tent isn’t good - but a study does not policy make, nor does it mean imminent doom for cargo flying jobs.

Mid-30s, fly boxes, not concerned...sky ain’t falling.

rickair7777
04-20-2018, 07:24 AM
I think it’s much more of a threat to cargo operators.

Overwater first.

I’d really be worried about this if I flew cargo.

Unfortunately, the general public-and their dumbass DC scumbag reps-give not 1/2 a rat’s ass what happens on cargo flights.

I'd be worried if I flew cargo, and expected to live to 120 (and expected the FAA to raise the retirement age to 110).

Keep in mind this thing is win/win for the people behind it. Best case, they get to fire half their pilots someday. Worst case, the publicity might scare some pilots into making concessions to help preserve their jobs in the face of a (highly improbable) threat.

This will take a long, long time and we'll see it coming years out. What these people are fantasizing about doing is eliminating pilots in CURRENT aircraft, which were not designed for that. The costs of retofitting and certifying the needed technology probably exceed the costs of the pilots over the life of the planes.

The time to worry is when manufacturers start trying to "bake" this sort of capability into new designs... but they won't do that unless they KNOW that it can certified, sold, and operated and they know the precise roadmap to certification. That last is so far beyond the technical capability of the FAA as to be laughable. Don't believe me? Google "NextGen"... :rolleyes:

HuggyU2
04-20-2018, 07:25 AM
If cargo planes are allowed to be single pilot, what are the chances airlines won't want to have the same cost reductions?

"I'll take 'Robust Data Links' for $800, Alex."

https://www.jeopardy.com/about/cast/alex-trebek

jcountry
04-20-2018, 07:27 AM
This sort of thing will happen eventually.

And then an accident will occur because of it.

And then it will stop. Forever.

We can all see what a stupid idea it is, but mgmt and politicians have to find out the hard way.

rickair7777
04-20-2018, 07:35 AM
This sort of thing will happen eventually.

And then an accident will occur because of it.

IMO, political and business interests who are enamored with tech, innovation, and change at all costs, and for their own sake, will rush into this with catastrophic consequences.


And then it will stop. Forever.

Not forever, but it will be set back decades due to political backlash.


We can all see what a stupid idea it is, but mgmt and politicians have to find out the hard way.

Yup.

The fundamental problem with auomated airlines (and other vehicles) is you need operators, manufacturers, customers, regulators, and politicians to all be in agreement. And in the case of airplanes *somebody* has to make a VERY large investment, with an ROI timeline of decades. Politicians and airline CEO's don't get ahead by looking at the long-term, so really that will be up to the airframers (who will need some degree of assurance that it can be certified and sold). Chicken or Egg?

Monkeyfly
04-20-2018, 07:56 AM
I don't think a robot could ever move these switches, I think we're safe. :D http://postachio-images.s3.amazonaws.com/b7bed252-a2e5-45a9-8be2-779509821b79/7a91e56e-0432-462d-95c9-e1c99d27a1d8/6548f64c-6409-4e20-95db-c01c2a7db0ee.jpg

BoilerUP
04-20-2018, 08:27 AM
http://www.propbay.com/attachments/original/14089d1442520302-hal-9000-1a.jpg

WhisperJet
04-20-2018, 08:36 AM
File this in the "just because we can doesn't mean we should" drawer...

Twin Wasp
04-20-2018, 08:57 AM
first starting at the Fedex UPS level and my opinion is we are less than 5 years away for the cargo sector to be experimenting with this in the cockpits.... a little longer until the airlines get it though... 10 years though is an eternity in technology.

The FAA has been working on CPDLC for 15+ years and you don't see yet in domestic airspace. By the time they're ready for pilotless aircraft we'll be using Star Trek transporters.

Grumble
04-20-2018, 09:20 AM
There is no such thing as an impenetrable network, and that one reason is why we won’t have single pilot airplanes.

PowderFinger
04-20-2018, 11:00 AM
There is no such thing as an impenetrable network, and that one reason is why we won’t have single pilot airplanes.

True. However, if we can sell a seat cheap enough, and management keeps or increases their bonuses, stockholders get their returns, and losses are acceptable, almost everybody wins. ;)

PowderFinger
04-20-2018, 11:01 AM
http://www.propbay.com/attachments/original/14089d1442520302-hal-9000-1a.jpg

Trying to antagonize IBM?

BKbigfish
04-20-2018, 11:37 AM
We will have single pilot cargo ops within 15-20 years if not sooner. My money is on 10-15 years. Single pilot passenger ops will come 10-15 years after the cargo carriers. Single pilot assisted by remote pilot on the ground. The pilot is there to override in case of emergency, computer hack, or loss of contact with ground station. Don’t kid yourselves... it’s coming. And a lot sooner than everybody thinks. I hope I’m wrong.

FlyyGuyy
04-20-2018, 12:14 PM
The time is now to put it in contract that we will require 1000+ an hour if they want single pilot ops. Regardless of the circumstances.

jcountry
04-20-2018, 12:27 PM
There is no such thing as an impenetrable network, and that one reason is why we won’t have single pilot airplanes.

Very true.

Hackers already see airliners as targets.

They absolutely would get in and highjinks would ensue.

tomgoodman
04-20-2018, 01:32 PM
After some catastrophic accidents, frightened airline CEOs will yell: “How soon can we retrofit the whole fleet like it was before? Re-hire all pilots, at double pay if you have to! Money is no object, because our ticket sales have gone to zero! My own job is at risk! :eek: :p

Omar 111
04-20-2018, 01:40 PM
We will have single pilot cargo ops within 15-20 years if not sooner. My money is on 10-15 years. Single pilot passenger ops will come 10-15 years after the cargo carriers. Single pilot assisted by remote pilot on the ground. The pilot is there to override in case of emergency, computer hack, or loss of contact with ground station. Don’t kid yourselves... it’s coming. And a lot sooner than everybody thinks. I hope I’m wrong.

Personally, I don't feel like single-piloted will be a big benefit to cargo/pax operators. How many times have you reported for an all-nighter feeling less than 100%? How many times have you pressed on at the end of a long duty day just because you figured 50%+50%= 100% of one pilot? I could count at least 3 duty periods this month I would have said uncle if I'd been forced to go it alone.

I think the restrictions on duty day and irregular ops would not make sense single-piloted. Until UAV's are proven with cargo ops, I think passenger pilots will be safe.

Mesabah
04-20-2018, 01:43 PM
Probably not in our careers.

Airlines took a huge step forward with CRM. Why the hell take a huge step back.

A “pilot” on the ground is not worth half a crap. Single pilot is probably decades away-if at all.

If it were safe, why wouldn’t cruise ships do it? (God knows, cruise ship companies are 100% as cheapskates as any airline could ever dream to be.)Ships do do this, they have harbor pilots that join the crew for docking the ship. They make the big bucks too, $400K is the average salary.

Single pilot is a threat to augmented crews, where widebody staffing would be reduced.

BoilerUP
04-20-2018, 02:53 PM
The only people who would advocate for single-pilot transport category operations OR reducing augmented crews on long-haul flights would be people who have never flown a jet single pilot and/or never done long-haul flying.

BKbigfish
04-20-2018, 03:15 PM
The only people who would advocate for single-pilot transport category operations OR reducing augmented crews on long-haul flights would be people who have never flown a jet single pilot and/or never done long-haul flying.

I think you’d have a hard time finding any pilot that advocates for single pilot operations. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

C130driver
04-20-2018, 04:01 PM
Ah it’s been a month, cue the “omg robots are taking over our jobs” post.

jcountry
04-20-2018, 04:47 PM
Ships do do this, they have harbor pilots that join the crew for docking the ship. They make the big bucks too, $400K is the average salary.

Single pilot is a threat to augmented crews, where widebody staffing would be reduced.

That’s like saying “only one guy is doing anything when it’s his leg...”

We all know how this stuff works. Cruise and cargo ships always have multiple people involved in sailing them. One guy might be at the controls, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only guy doing anything.

The bridge of any of those large ships is never left up to just one person.

Al Czervik
04-20-2018, 05:01 PM
APA is for it.

Mesabah
04-20-2018, 06:59 PM
The only people who would advocate for single-pilot transport category operations OR reducing augmented crews on long-haul flights would be people who have never flown a jet single pilot and/or never done long-haul flying.

There will be many advocates from the pilot group when the time comes. The pay would increase, and the chance to rotate into a ground safety pilot would be ideal for most that live in base, and want a break.

rickair7777
04-20-2018, 07:37 PM
That’s like saying “only one guy is doing anything when it’s his leg...”

We all know how this stuff works. Cruise and cargo ships always have multiple people involved in sailing them. One guy might be at the controls, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only guy doing anything.

The bridge of any of those large ships is never left up to just one person.

Actually... sometimes the bridges of large cargo ships are left unattended. They have autopilot, and radar which sounds a proximity alarm. And if the AP fails, the ship won't roll inverted or anything really bad.

It's up to the master, and prudence dictates you only do that in un-congested open ocean. But prudence doesn't always prevail.

Groundpointfife
04-20-2018, 07:49 PM
Here's a link to contact your representatives regarding this issue.

http://www.alpa.org/advocacy/cta/faa-744

CoefficientX
04-20-2018, 09:13 PM
There will be many advocates from the pilot group when the time comes. The pay would increase, and the chance to rotate into a ground safety pilot would be ideal for most that live in base, and want a break.

Wrong, just wrong. Speaking out of your arse.

C130driver
04-20-2018, 10:48 PM
There will be many advocates from the pilot group when the time comes. The pay would increase, and the chance to rotate into a ground safety pilot would be ideal for most that live in base, and want a break.

The pay would increase? The only damn reason the airlines would go for this catastrophically bad idea is to cut costs, why the hell would they increase pay?

Crown
04-21-2018, 03:11 AM
I would have agreed that it was coming in 5-10 years. I was one of the firm believers that the public would be all for it so long as a ticket was 20 dollars cheaper. But then two things happened. One was a self-driving Uber killed a cyclist in Tempe. The other was the Southwest incident. Hearing that Captain ask for things like extended final to get configured; asking for medical personnel to meet the aircraft, things like that. You cannot, absolutely cannot, program an airplane to do things like that and keep the passengers safe. And as for the self-driving car blasting the pedestrian, I've heard every argument in the book. But the pedestrian wasn't in a crosswalk! Okay, so what happens when a kid runs out after a ball and the self-driving car doesn't do what it's supposed to do?

My point is, ultimately, the public does not want this crap.

Han Solo
04-21-2018, 04:34 AM
Fighting this is like the blacksmith fighting the automobile or more currently teamsters fighting driverless trucks. We might be able to delay a little while but the writing is on the wall. Single pilot and pilotless planes will happen, the only question is when.

That said, I support ALPA fighting the good fight but all they can do is delay. I wouldn't carry high hopes for any measure of real success.

One was a self-driving Uber killed a cyclist in Tempe. The other was the Southwest incident.

If I had been driving that vehicle in Tempe that cyclist would be just as dead. It just wouldn't be in the news. People will forget about Captain Cool when they can save $10 per seat to go see the rat.

jcountry
04-21-2018, 09:15 AM
If I had been driving that vehicle in Tempe that cyclist would be just as dead. It just wouldn't be in the news. People will forget about Captain Cool when they can save $10 per seat to go see the rat.

You should look into the Tempe incident more closely.

I believe lidar was active. (It can “see” far better than any human.)

The initial statement by the sheriff was incorrect. The car should have been able to avoid this accident. Uber’s AI appears to be at fault. Just like I predicted, these systems are just parlor tricks, and people are dying because of it.

Anyone who understands computing at all knows that the kind of AI we now see is not anywhere near ready for this. There as some very basic differences between how computers work and how the brain works. Investors and technology circle jerks are attempting to play like these issues don’t exist. (Hint: all the big evangelists for this stuff have financial stakes. None actually work in AI.)

I think the pedestrian was first spotted about 15 seconds prior.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/samabuelsamid/2018/03/21/uber-crash-tape-tells-very-different-story-from-police-report-time-for-some-regulations/amp/

This stuff is far from ready for prime time.

Han Solo
04-21-2018, 10:03 AM
You should look into the Tempe incident more closely.

I believe lidar was active. (It can “see” far better than any human.)



I never said the car shouldn't have performed better. I said I would've hit the biker too :). Just because cars aren't ready yet doesn't mean in a few years they'll won't be mostly there. What is easier to fix, a software glitch in a car's autopilot or getting 100 million Americans to put down their phones when they're driving? Once computer driving is common flying won't be far behind.

OOfff
04-21-2018, 11:51 AM
We won’t end up going from 2 pilots to 1 to zero. It will be directly from 2 to zero. There’s no advantage to single pilot, especially augmented with a remote system.

MarkVI
04-21-2018, 12:39 PM
For what it’s worth, I don’t see the biggest danger of this to be aircraft/pilot related. When talking about advanced networks the biggest danger is network security.

When you automate the second pilot via a remote network, it becomes possible for someone else to intercept and augment that network. It’s the same challenge with the concept of a pilotless aircraft. Hacking a network of pressurized tin cans carrying 100+ people or several tons of cargo gives you a nice little missile to play around with.

The largest argument I normally hear is that “the military has done this for years and never had an incident.” That we know of. And for the record, the military is a small network of several hundred drones that are operated discretely. The pool of people knowledgeable in the operation of the advanced networking of these drones is relatively small, and the work required for someone to intercept and augment the network is high, with I high probability of data interference detection.

Make the same system commonplace and widely deployed across tens of thousands of daily operations and the chance of network intrusion detection goes way down. Additionally, the Regs don’t keep up with the ever-changing technology marketplace. Certifying new, more secure data management systems for aviation is a grueling process. The yield would be that hackers would have access to older coding, technology, and systems that would over time become easier to manipulate.

How that manipulation affects an aircrafts operation is to be determined. But anyone questioning the validity of data systems security need only to ask how hard it would be to bring an entire TRACON to the floor by precisely placing and activating several VHF transmitters on the right frequencies in the right places. Even Guard isn’t safe. The reason this DOESN’T happen is because it would take a serious, concerted effort of labor. An automated airliner network would only take access to a port on the network, which could happen from the comfort of ones couch.

WHEN the airlines, politicians, and manufacturers debut single pilot airplanes and pilotless airplanes, I foresee the first casualty to be the cause of a nefarious individual with an axe to grind, and access to the network.

In data management systems, it’s not if, it’s WHEN will a breach occur.

Mesabah
04-21-2018, 12:47 PM
We won’t end up going from 2 pilots to 1 to zero. It will be directly from 2 to zero. There’s no advantage to single pilot, especially augmented with a remote system.
I totally disagree, self driving cars, and fully autonomous aircraft are orders of magnitude more complex than single pilot. As someone who programs in Pyton, and R for ML, the claim of autonomous items by manufacturers is dubious at best. However, Boeing really needs a gimmick for selling its new 797, or more importantly, a replacement 737 that can compete with Airbus. There will never be fully autonomous aircraft until AI progresses to biological systems, which isn't in our lifetimes.

This isn't about eliminating pilots, it's about streamlining the airspace system so a Machine learning assisted autopilot, can fly the aircraft direct to destination, without any separation criteria. Doppler Shift Lidar can actually see the wake from other aircraft. However, you still need someone in the cockpit to manage the system. The AI is essentially replacing ATC, not the aircraft operator. For safety's sake, aviate, navigate, communicate, will be reduced to just aviate.

We are already screwed with FAR 117, because once the FAA approves single pilot, even if the PWA requires 2 pilots, one of the pilot's duty periods, doesn't count against the FAR limits. How long will that contract item last, when the company is putting pilots on trips with 18+ hour deadhead days? This is already happening now, it happened to me.

Amike
04-21-2018, 08:04 PM
Neither the Starship Enterprise nor the Millennium Falcon were single pilot or autonomous. Could a computer complete the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? :D

rickair7777
04-21-2018, 09:18 PM
We won’t end up going from 2 pilots to 1 to zero. It will be directly from 2 to zero. There’s no advantage to single pilot, especially augmented with a remote system.

This may not be far off the mark. You can't go single pilot until the automation can *reliably* handle the 6-8 pilot incapacitations which occur in the US each year. That means full-auto needs to be ready for prime-time before you go single pilot on pax airliners.

But there will be a single pilot during the transition, that will last some number of years until they demonstrate the reliability of the automation. My guess is a few years to find some bugs, then twenty more to rinse, wash, repeat a few times. It will end up taking decades longer than anticipated, and somebody will likely go bankrupt (or get bailed out by the government, either or).

Nantonaku
04-21-2018, 11:12 PM
The FAA has been working on CPDLC for 15+ years and you don't see yet in domestic airspace. By the time they're ready for pilotless aircraft we'll be using Star Trek transporters.

I agree, the FAA doesn't move fast and airlines still fly planes developed in the 60's. I don't think being a pilot is anymore at risk than any other job of disappearing. AI will eventually be able to write software, robots will be able to clean/cook, AI will fight wars and machines will build houses. And someday the end of the world will also come and humans will live on other planets.

PowderFinger
04-22-2018, 08:16 AM
I agree, the FAA doesn't move fast and airlines still fly planes developed in the 60's. I don't think being a pilot is anymore at risk than any other job of disappearing. AI will eventually be able to write software, robots will be able to clean/cook, AI will fight wars and machines will build houses. And someday the end of the world will also come and humans will live on other planets.

Maybe we should start with an AI Flight Attendant (I know, that's an oxymoron) and see how that works out.

Karnak
04-22-2018, 10:44 AM
Ah it’s been a month, cue the “omg robots are taking over our jobs” post.

I for one welcome our robot overlords!

"This is horrible!"
"Unsafe!"
"We'll fight them in the streets!"
"Over my dead body!"

"Wait. They'll pay me $500 an hour to take over in case of lost link? Um...ok."

Mesabah
04-22-2018, 10:51 AM
This may not be far off the mark. You can't go single pilot until the automation can *reliably* handle the 6-8 pilot incapacitations which occur in the US each year. That means full-auto needs to be ready for prime-time before you go single pilot on pax airliners.

One thing Machine learning can do extremely well is determine if the pilot is incapacitated, and alert the company. This isn't really an issue because the ground, in conjunction with an FA, could take over. It would simply become a priority aircraft. 100% of the problem is the interaction of an AI aircraft with a conventional one. For instance, if a non AI aircraft next to you on a parallel approach overshoots the approach path, the AI will freak out. There is no way to solve this problem without banning all non AI aircraft. That is why you still need at least one pilot - for when the AI does something dumb, which will be a lot.



This is the same for if all cars were AI, and the roadways were 100% clear of all obstructions, we would already have self driving cars.

bizzlepilot
04-22-2018, 11:54 AM
Having first hand knowledge/experience of how RPAs are operating both in the overseas and stateside training environments I don't see pilotless aircraft in my lifetime. Maybe my son's lifetime, but definitely not mine. RPA's were supposed to be cleared to fly in the NAS with no chase aircraft by 2015. The FAA is still dragging their feet on it. It'll be years if not decades before things get ironed out for cargo/pax carrying RPA's.

PowderFinger
04-22-2018, 11:58 AM
I for one welcome our robot overlords!

"This is horrible!"
"Unsafe!"
"We'll fight them in the streets!"
"Over my dead body!"

"Wait. They'll pay me $500 an hour to take over in case of lost link? Um...ok."

Hummm... Might be time to get that Remote Pilot certificate ...

jcountry
04-22-2018, 02:37 PM
I chuckle at all this y’all of pilotless planes-every time I see the 15 guys it takes to load and service my plane every leg.

Much less complicated work than what we do.....

esa17
04-22-2018, 03:39 PM
We will see single pilot 121 operations utilizing ground based backups in our lifetime.

It’s hubris to think otherwise.

Bolo35
04-22-2018, 03:58 PM
We won’t end up going from 2 pilots to 1 to zero. It will be directly from 2 to zero. There’s no advantage to single pilot, especially augmented with a remote system.

This may not be far off the mark. You can't go single pilot until the automation can *reliably* handle the 6-8 pilot incapacitations which occur in the US each year. That means full-auto needs to be ready for prime-time before you go single pilot on pax airliners.

Completely agree. I don't think we'll ever see single pilot ops until AI has the same intelligence and can also think like humans. That's a big jump from Siri. The big question is when will that happen? Hopefully it'll be 30+ years down the road (or not in our lifetime). When it does happen, single pilot ops will be the last thing we're worried about... Article below is a 20+ min read but sums up what we could expect from AI in the future.

https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html

HuggyU2
04-22-2018, 05:28 PM
Whether we see it in our lifetime, or whether it takes longer is irrelevant. Sort of like speculating on an aircraft mishap a few hours after it happens: what do you prove if you're right?

However, there are many tech companies and entrepreneurs (American and foreign) that will pursue this technology, irrespective of what the pilot unions think. And these innovators will continue to make progress. The improvements and spinoffs that are a result of this pursuit will drive new technologies over the coming decades (think "space program").

ALPA, SWAPA, and APA can partner / be involved / be on the committees / etc... but vehement proclamations that "this will not stand!" are futile and foolish.

Imagine telling Doolittle in the early 1930's that we'd be landing on the moon in the 1960's.

Probably a bad analogy, because I'm sure Doolittle would have supported efforts to make it so.

esa17
04-23-2018, 01:02 AM
Completely agree. I don't think we'll ever see single pilot ops until AI has the same intelligence and can also think like humans. That's a big jump from Siri. The big question is when will that happen? Hopefully it'll be 30+ years down the road (or not in our lifetime). When it does happen, single pilot ops will be the last thing we're worried about... Article below is a 20+ min read but sums up what we could expect from AI in the future.

https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html
It’s not going to be AI when it happens.

Instead of a FO, you’ll have a dispatcher who is standing by as an additional Crewmember on 6 airplanes in flight. When one of his aircraft encounters an IFE they will become the “FO” on that flight.

FlyingMaryJane
04-23-2018, 06:03 AM
This has been going on for years... this will happen soon, there will be 1 pilot in the left seat to start.. GET READY FOR YOUR NEW FO... If you are under the age of 45, have a plan B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCJqeZ2Rwh8

Han Solo
04-23-2018, 06:07 AM
Neither the Starship Enterprise nor the Millennium Falcon were single pilot or autonomous. Could a computer complete the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? :D

Never tell me the odds.

CBreezy
04-23-2018, 06:21 AM
This has been going on for years... this will happen soon, there will be 1 pilot in the left seat to start.. GET READY FOR YOUR NEW FO... If you are under the age of 45, have a plan B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCJqeZ2Rwh8

What happens when there is an RA? What happens when ATC says cancel approach clearance and proceed direct to a fix that isn't on your flight plan? What happens when ATC gives you a step down that the airplane cannot do? What happens.... I could go on and on. So a robot can program an autopilot under ideal conditions with an optimally performing ILS. I could teach a 6 year old to do it and fly to an autoland. But the robot can't land in a 30 kt gusty crosswind. It more than likely cannot adjust to abnormal, non-profile clearances (or clearances at all). Plus, do we want to trust Siri or Alexa to understand a guy mumbling into a mic...or doing literally what the controller says even it's not what he means?

As far as single pilot, the amount of money it's going to take to build the infrastructure to support it is going to be WAY WAY more than the cost savings on labor. And then how do we get those experienced Captains if they don't first spend time as an FO somewhere? We will just magically have experienced Captains? "Hi, this is CA Steve. This is his first ever flight in a jet and he's the only one here. Good luck!" The remote operator is also a bad idea. I can't tell you how many times I cross the country with inop satellite wifi systems or no ACARS signal. Anyone who thinks a remote operator is going to be able to assist the in flight pilot with a situation like what happened on Southwest is delusional. I don't doubt we will be replaced by automated systems at some point. To say that it's right around the corner is to be lacking any perspective of the complexity of airline operations.

AC560
04-23-2018, 06:21 AM
Technology is often exponential in growth. Look at the rapid development of Tesla, The Internet, SpaceX, etc.

Automation has huge value and is coming faster and faster. When we over stretch (Tesla manufacturing automation as an example) everyone steps back and recalibrates. That doesn’t mean and end just a fork.

Where the huge and safe savings are is in the white collar world and you are seeing huge amounts of dollars and results as it relates to automation and AI. We moved some functionality at my work to automation that could perform the same function in two minutes that took a person eight hours to do. The cost was negligible, accuracy improved, speed improved, and a savings of $50k a year (per person and it was close to 40-50 people). The math here is simple and we pour about 50% of that savings back into further development.

The WC world will drive this, it is growing exponentially, and it will pervade all things in the next 10-20yrs. Replacing 20,000 pilots isn’t worth the effort. Replacing millions of office and factory workers is. Once that is mastered airline pilots just get swept up in the inevitable.

The bigger question remains when we automate out the workforce, what do all of us do? Make no mistake though it is coming for all of us, and I am helping to drive the bus.

esa17
04-23-2018, 06:36 AM
What happens when there is an RA? What happens when ATC says cancel approach clearance and proceed direct to a fix that isn't on your flight plan? What happens when ATC gives you a step down that the airplane cannot do? What happens.... I could go on and on. So a robot can program an autopilot under ideal conditions with an optimally performing ILS. I could teach a 6 year old to do it and fly to an autoland. But the robot can't land in a 30 kt gusty crosswind. It more than likely cannot adjust to abnormal, non-profile clearances (or clearances at all). Plus, do we want to trust Siri or Alexa to understand a guy mumbling into a mic...or doing literally what the controller says even it's not what he means?

As far as single pilot, the amount of money it's going to take to build the infrastructure to support it is going to be WAY WAY more than the cost savings on labor. And then how do we get those experienced Captains if they don't first spend time as an FO somewhere? We will just magically have experienced Captains? "Hi, this is CA Steve. This is his first ever flight in a jet and he's the only one here. Good luck!" The remote operator is also a bad idea. I can't tell you how many times I cross the country with inop satellite wifi systems or no ACARS signal. Anyone who thinks a remote operator is going to be able to assist the in flight pilot with a situation like what happened on Southwest is delusional. I don't doubt we will be replaced by automated systems at some point. To say that it's right around the corner is to be lacking any perspective of the complexity of airline operations.

Literally nothing in your post is accurate.

The aircraft can easily avoid TA/RAs with the new ADS-B mandate. Currently unmanned aircraft have the ability electronically “sense and sequence” themselves timing arrivals to the second.

Also, landing in 30 knot winds means nothing to the airplane. Only the pilot knows it’s windy. Unmanned aircraft can land within 1.5m of a predetermined point every single time, regardless of weather conditions.

The Siri-Alexa example is a non-starter. It won’t be AI, the aircraft will only do what it’s told...just like when Otto flies now.

As far as the telemetry is concerned, private space flight cures that. Once Elon starts launching cheap micro-communication satellites bandwidth becomes cheap and coverage is complete.

We are about to be England in 1851. The new Crystal Palace is going to cause a major paradigm shift.

FlyingMaryJane
04-23-2018, 06:39 AM
What happens when there is an RA? What happens when ATC says cancel approach clearance and proceed direct to a fix that isn't on your flight plan? What happens when ATC gives you a step down that the airplane cannot do? What happens.... I could go on and on. So a robot can program an autopilot under ideal conditions with an optimally performing ILS. I could teach a 6 year old to do it and fly to an autoland. But the robot can't land in a 30 kt gusty crosswind. It more than likely cannot adjust to abnormal, non-profile clearances (or clearances at all). Plus, do we want to trust Siri or Alexa to understand a guy mumbling into a mic...or doing literally what the controller says even it's not what he means?

As far as single pilot, the amount of money it's going to take to build the infrastructure to support it is going to be WAY WAY more than the cost savings on labor. And then how do we get those experienced Captains if they don't first spend time as an FO somewhere? We will just magically have experienced Captains? "Hi, this is CA Steve. This is his first ever flight in a jet and he's the only one here. Good luck!" The remote operator is also a bad idea. I can't tell you how many times I cross the country with inop satellite wifi systems or no ACARS signal. Anyone who thinks a remote operator is going to be able to assist the in flight pilot with a situation like what happened on Southwest is delusional. I don't doubt we will be replaced by automated systems at some point. To say that it's right around the corner is to be lacking any perspective of the complexity of airline operations.

That's why you will have 1 pilot.. and have you not thought of adjustments? meaning since the FAA, airlines, and government approve of this there will be massive changes in ATC, they have already been talking about changes.... rules will change and rules will be changing to support this type of industry change. Governments and corporation profits are much more important than an airline pilot, you should know this by now. If you think they will just put robots in the planes without major overhauls to ATC and rules etc, then you are kidding yourself. Powerful people want to replace humans with machines to take humans out of the equation in all aspects of life. I used to think the people who said humans will be replaced by robots and machine were crazy conspiracy theorists... now just open up your eyes! Powerful people are replacing humans in the workplace at record pace, there will soon be no jobs left and soon be no need for humans, just robots catering to the global elite... All this was crazy to me years ago, but now its actually happening... everything will change for the robots, not the human.. governments are already adjusting and yes, the FAA will change and adjust to the demands of A.I. Sorry to break the news to you since its been out in the open for more than 5 years! lol

BoilerUP
04-23-2018, 06:41 AM
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180423/def414d4fe283b1b4da08352bc9572d7.jpg

CBreezy
04-23-2018, 06:55 AM
Literally nothing in your post is accurate.

The aircraft can easily avoid TA/RAs with the new ADS-B mandate. Currently unmanned aircraft have the ability electronically “sense and sequence” themselves timing arrivals to the second.

Also, landing in 30 knot winds means nothing to the airplane. Only the pilot knows it’s windy. Unmanned aircraft can land within 1.5m of a predetermined point every single time, regardless of weather conditions.

The Siri-Alexa example is a non-starter. It won’t be AI, the aircraft will only do what it’s told...just like when Otto flies now.

As far as the telemetry is concerned, private space flight cures that. Once Elon starts launching cheap micro-communication satellites bandwidth becomes cheap and coverage is complete.

We are about to be England in 1851. The new Crystal Palace is going to cause a major paradigm shift.

I'm referring only to the example of in the video above. I have no doubt that in the next 20 years, there would be the potential for fully automated airplanes. But they cannot exist in the current environment. It would take a momentous shift in the entire aviation infrastructure and that takes time....and A LOT of money. There are still airlines that operate on 1970s IT systems flying aircraft built in the 90s.

Right now and in the near to mid term future, the infrastructure is not there to support it. It is going to take several decades of testing and technology improvements before we ever see one enter service. Yes, a robot can program an autopilot to land a 737. Good for the programmers. Many, many airports have inadequate approach procedures. They would need to be developed and built to suit the new aircraft. And then there is the capital needed to replace every aircraft currently flying. That 737 that the robot landed has very limited Autoland capabilities. Toss in some windshear and a snow covered runway and things get really interesting. And remember, robots can't see weather beyond what the radar tells them...which is still a limited resource in a lot of cases. The only thing that would have saved the Air France flight in the Atlantic was better training. The Autopilot is of no help when all the sensors fail...

tomgoodman
04-23-2018, 07:01 AM
Powerful people want to replace humans with machines to take humans out of the equation in all aspects of life.

Well, probably not all aspects....:D

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDxBnYsjdKM

Mesabah
04-23-2018, 07:01 AM
I have no doubt that in the next 20 years,
The system is already in testing in Europe.

PowderFinger
04-23-2018, 08:06 AM
We will see single pilot 121 operations utilizing ground based backups in our lifetime.

It’s hubris to think otherwise.

Our dispatchers went from working 6 flights at a time to 18 ... I could see a remote pilot backing up 18 flights at a time. What could happen?

Danger Close
04-23-2018, 08:14 AM
What about AI ATC(monitored by a human). Pushing instructions to planes with CPDLC like commands and the pilots just acknowledging unless they see different. Borrrrrrring

AC560
04-23-2018, 08:25 AM
Our dispatchers went from working 6 flights at a time to 18 ... I could see a remote pilot backing up 18 flights at a time. What could happen?

Dispatchers are working more flights due to greater automation. The ratio will just continue to increase until they disappear.

Qotsaautopilot
04-23-2018, 10:11 AM
I just love the mission of putting the population out of work. If people don’t have money how do they buy things. The middle class American dream is already harder and harder to attain because jobs that can support a family are few and far between. This leads to social issues because both parents have to work and no one is minding the shop at home. Now we are trying to eliminate one of the few well paying middle class lines of work left out there? For what? I honestly have no idea what my kids (kindergarten) are going to do for a living that makes any kind of decent money.

PilotAnalyst
04-23-2018, 10:23 AM
2 minds are better than one. It's a pretty simple rule of thumb that has been time tested, but it's the hype behind driverless vehicles that I think is driving much of this.

The problem is some politicians and others who probably haven't spent much time in a flight deck recently are buying the hype. I do worry that they will make financially driven decisions that will compromise safety.

Even driverless cars have significant hurdles, and I think some politicians, engineers, and regulators have rushed its technology.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-19/uber-autonomous-car-involved-in-fatal-crash-in-Arizona

Unfortunately it takes an accident for people to start appreciating the limitations of technology.

The problem is with aircraft accidents consequences are far worse when things go south... even on a cargo aircraft. Which is why I think its good ALPA and others work to slow this research way, way down, before someone gets the crazy idea to try this thing on 121 ops and someone gets hurt.

I think huge problems remain even from a single pilot perspective

Security
- One person at the controls of a potential WoMD. (German Wings)
- Hackable interfaces (all remote tech will have vulnerabilities, if they don't today they will tomorrow)

Redundancy
- We take flying aircraft for granted because we do it all of the time, but just talk to a new student and one will discover it is not a "simple learning experience" a lot of intuition "experience" goes into dealing with (People, Equipment, Weather, Equipment Failure, regulation, and other components)
- Single pilot ops are much more prone to fatigue (judgement errors)

Judgement
-Common sense isn't so common, and computers rank near the bottom of the rating scale when it comes to having it, which includes AI.

Technology
- Equipment failure...
- The AI of today are essentially graphics processors that use inputs (experience) to slowly derive the weightings of a formula to learn the right outputs for a given input.

The problem is as most humans know, no formula can accurately model the proper output in all cases, no matter how careful weighted the components of the formula are, because no formula or sets of formula will be comprehensive enough to compare with humans. Our brains were developed over long, long periods of time, in ways engineers can't even dream of right now with current tech. (Just the placement of our neurons, or the folds in our brains are unique) Graphics processers are well.... very rigid.

Our judgement in the flight deck stems from a lot more than just inputs and outputs from flying. It comes from life experience, of simple stuff we take for granted.

If it turns out AI has been developed good enough to exercise the necessary judgment in our crazy world, to fly aircraft, then we might as well have robots for senators or CEOs.

In the end people need to work with people, which is why 2 is such a strong team. They both bring different perspectives, and often can act synergistically when it comes to good judgment, while providing a level of redundancy that R2D2 simply can't match.

PowderFinger
04-23-2018, 12:40 PM
I think huge problems remain even from a single pilot perspective

Security
- One person at the controls of a potential WoMD. (German Wings)
- Hackable interfaces (all remote tech will have vulnerabilities, if they don't today they will tomorrow)

Redundancy
- We take flying aircraft for granted because we do it all of the time, but just talk to a new student and one will discover it is not a "simple learning experience" a lot of intuition "experience" goes into dealing with (People, Equipment, Weather, Equipment Failure, regulation, and other components)
- Single pilot ops are much more prone to fatigue (judgement errors)

Judgement
-Common sense isn't so common, and computers rank near the bottom of the rating scale when it comes to having it, which includes AI.

Technology
- Equipment failure...
- The AI of today are essentially graphics processors that use inputs (experience) to slowly derive the weightings of a formula to learn the right outputs for a given input.

If the seats are cheap enough, management keeps or increases their bonuses, shareholders are kept happy, all of these will be acceptable risks. Acceptable losses if something happens.

Many in Congress will support this. The Senator from Arizona used to comment while boarding that what we do is easy.

To smooth things over Congress will ensure everyone is provided with LPPs ... Labor Protective Provisions ... They have done this before.

Everyone wins.

AC560
04-23-2018, 04:12 PM
If the seats are cheap enough, management keeps or increases their bonuses, shareholders are kept happy, all of these will be acceptable risks.

Negotiate profit sharing, get skin in the game, if you think you will ride all reward and no risk you are going to be disappointed. The world is changing.

BNUT
04-23-2018, 05:50 PM
[QUOTE=Qotsaautopilot;2578391]I just love the mission of putting the population out of work. If people don’t have money how do they buy things. The middle class American dream is already harder and harder to attain because jobs that can support a family are few and far between. This leads to social issues because both parents have to work and no one is minding the shop at home. Now we are trying to eliminate one of the few well paying middle class lines of work left out there? For what? I honestly have no idea what my kids (kindergarten) are going to do for a living that makes any kind of decent money.[/QUOTE

Exactly!

badflaps
04-23-2018, 06:44 PM
Well in 1900 the big problem was disposition of horse poop. And who can forget the the whale oil shortage. I'm safe, I have all my money in corset manufacture.:D

TransWorld
04-23-2018, 08:41 PM
Well in 1900 the big problem was disposition of horse poop. And who can forget the the whale oil shortage. I'm safe, I have all my money in corset manufacture.:D

In about 1915 my great grandfather, a good person but not so good businessman, picked up a great product to sell on his route. Buggy whips. I kid you not.

Later, he had a 12 room hotel made of wood. He was smart, he saved money by not carrying fire insurance on it. It was heavily mortgaged. Then one night it burned to the ground. The bank wanted its money. He was not so good of a businessman. I kid you not.

I believe I am wiser than he.

Chupacabras
04-23-2018, 09:05 PM
Thats why there will NEVER BE A PILOT SHORTAGE!! They will always find a way to take care of it, Airbus, Boeing, NASA have been studying for years about replacing pilots with robots and machines... it first starts with single pilot and then the robots take over, first starting at the Fedex UPS level and my opinion is we are less than 5 years away for the cargo sector to be experimenting with this in the cockpits.... a little longer until the airlines get it though... 10 years though is an eternity in technology. Dont be shocked if in 10yrs or less the airlines start with the 1 pilot standard with the assistance of a robot in the right seat! Its all how you sell it over the media... technology is sold as "so cool" now a days on the TV after 5 years of successful robot flying and 1 pilot as the backup on Fedex and UPS flights then its gonna be "so cool" to have a robot fly you to Paris! It's coming guys, and you better get ready for it! Especially the young guys... The airlines don't give a crap about you...

I think you are spot on! Ive already accepted I won't be retiring from this profession. At the end of the day, its all about the money they save by removing us. They will likely say its safer to fly with a robot because they don't make mistakes like humans.

This is not only happening to pilots but it will happen to many other professions. Specially as AI takes off.

Hopefully we can elect a government that actually cares about the worker and not only the profits of corporations....It time the American worker votes a little more wisely to secure our future.

Chupacabras
04-23-2018, 09:13 PM
I don't think a robot could ever move these switches, I think we're safe. :D http://postachio-images.s3.amazonaws.com/b7bed252-a2e5-45a9-8be2-779509821b79/7a91e56e-0432-462d-95c9-e1c99d27a1d8/6548f64c-6409-4e20-95db-c01c2a7db0ee.jpg
Really? Because when I dictate a text message I want siri to send, a compact robotic hand comes out of my phone and physically types the message on my screen......a robot has no need to press buttons when its wired into the system.

PowderFinger
04-24-2018, 03:03 AM
Negotiate profit sharing, get skin in the game, if you think you will ride all reward and no risk you are going to be disappointed. The world is changing.

I won't be dissapointed ... Not my problem. Yours.

hilltopflyer
04-24-2018, 03:47 AM
Really? Because when I dictate a text message I want siri to send, a compact robotic hand comes out of my phone and physically types the message on my screen......a robot has no need to press buttons when its wired into the system.

And that never fails....

UASCOMPILOT
04-24-2018, 03:58 AM
Actually, if you just said no! Problem solved! We're the problem here not AI. Hell if I'm getting in any cockpit for 8+ hours by myself, there's a reason the military give supplements to single pilots crossing the pond.. What their really talking about here is fully autonomous A/C. They're just ringing the bell for a few years to get you used to single pilot b4 they ring the bell for no pilot! (Pavlov get it?)

PowderFinger
04-24-2018, 05:08 AM
I don't think a robot could ever move these switches, I think we're safe. :D http://postachio-images.s3.amazonaws.com/b7bed252-a2e5-45a9-8be2-779509821b79/7a91e56e-0432-462d-95c9-e1c99d27a1d8/6548f64c-6409-4e20-95db-c01c2a7db0ee.jpg

The mighty guppy overhead might not be the best representation of the situation. But if that is the only overhead you know ...

I remember sitting in the 777 a few years ago ... Watching the various bleed lights cycle on and off on the overhead while the bird was figuring out its bleed problem ... All the while me and bubba were slowly eating our breakfast while enjoying the morning view of somewhere in Europe ... It took care of the problem and reported it ... I wrote it up as well so I could feel like I was an active participant in the situation.

It's coming. :(

That picture gave me nightmares when you first posted it.

AC560
04-24-2018, 05:15 AM
I won't be dissapointed ... Not my problem. Yours.

Keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep better.

PowderFinger
04-24-2018, 06:08 AM
Keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep better.

It will not be my problem. It will be your problem.

Think grasshopper... Think. ;)

rickair7777
04-24-2018, 06:36 AM
Really? Because when I dictate a text message I want siri to send, a compact robotic hand comes out of my phone and physically types the message on my screen......a robot has no need to press buttons when its wired into the system.

Yes, but the point he was making...

- You can't *economically* retrofit old airplanes. If you disagree, go get a systems engineering degree and then back and we'll discuss.

- Airlines are major capital investments, typically amortized over 20-30 years.

Even if someone could and would build and sell an automated airliner today, nobody could afford to just swap out all the planes they have... they need to fly them for a couple decades to pay down the mortgage.

Imapilot2
04-24-2018, 06:37 AM
Could you imagine having a hydraulic failure? Running that checklist, flying the airplane, setting up the approach, communicating over the radio and configuring the aircraft for landing by yourself. Scarry

Humans are humans and being by yourself in that situation that's not going to work.

rickair7777
04-24-2018, 07:25 AM
Could you imagine having a hydraulic failure? Running that checklist, flying the airplane, setting up the approach, communicating over the radio and configuring the aircraft for landing by yourself. Scarry

Humans are humans and being by yourself in that situation that's not going to work.

Yes. The only way you'll get single pilot is when the airplane is fully autonomous anyway. You'll just be a backup to the backups, until they have enough operational experience to show they don't need you, and the public will go for it.

This is all a very long way off... to make it happen rapidly would require a vast manhattan project costing Trillions of dollars, but the ROI on that is negligible by comparison. There are less than 100,000 airline pilots in the US. Nobody has an incentive to drop the coin now, certainly not the government (which would have to develop roadmaps for certification, change laws, and COMPLETELY re-engineer the ATC infrastructure).

tomgoodman
04-24-2018, 08:06 AM
Yes. The only way you'll get single pilot is when the airplane is fully autonomous anyway. You'll just be a backup to the backups, until they have enough operational experience to show they don't need you, and the public will go for it.

Public acceptance may take decades, so in the meantime we could fool them with a curtain, sound effects, etc:

“I am Captain Oz, the great and powerful! Whooo are yooou?! :cool: :D

Dolphinflyer
04-24-2018, 08:23 AM
Our dispatchers went from working 6 flights at a time to 18 ... I could see a remote pilot backing up 18 flights at a time. What could happen?

Cool. Ours did too.

And the result is they are near worthless.

AC560
04-24-2018, 05:07 PM
This is all a very long way off... to make it happen rapidly would require a vast manhattan project costing Trillions of dollars, but the ROI on that is negligible by comparison. There are less than 100,000 airline pilots in the US. Nobody has an incentive to drop the coin now, certainly not the government (which would have to develop roadmaps for certification, change laws, and COMPLETELY re-engineer the ATC infrastructure).

Automation is infinitely scalable. So while financial planning and the legal field are taking the hits right now as it relates to AI. AI is AI so when it can figure out how to invest your money and divorce your third wife, landing in a 150kt cross wind with both wings on fire won’t be an issue.

Nobody is going out and designing a replacement pilot, they are designing a human replacement.

C130driver
04-24-2018, 07:58 PM
Good lord guys it’s a freaking study! You know how many “studies” the government spends money on? No joke, 20 years ago the Air Force studied “Gay Bombs,” where they would drop bombs that would spread a chemical that would make the enemy homosexual and allegedly less likely to attack. The sky isn’t falling.

How many of the next gen airliners have even hinted at being single pilot or autonomous? A whopping zero. How many airline CEOs have given serious consideration to this? Zero. The technology is simply not there to handle the multitude of emergencies that an average pilot is tasked with being ready for. Even when the technology is there, you’re talking about fielding, investments, regulation, insurance, major infrastructure ..at an international level! That takes time, not 5-10 years as people here so ignorantly think. It also takes money, which completely negates the only reason why this would make sense.

While we are still crashing drones and driverless cars, I think I’ll find some security in this job until I retire.

CoefficientX
04-24-2018, 08:40 PM
Good lord guys it’s a freaking study! You know how many “studies” the government spends money on? No joke, 20 years ago the Air Force studied “Gay Bombs,” where they would drop bombs that would spread a chemical that would make the enemy homosexual and allegedly less likely to attack. The sky isn’t falling.

How many of the next gen airliners have even hinted at being single pilot or autonomous? A whopping zero. How many airline CEOs have given serious consideration to this? Zero. The technology is simply not there to handle the multitude of emergencies that an average pilot is tasked with being ready for. Even when the technology is there, you’re talking about fielding, investments, regulation, insurance, major infrastructure ..at an international level! That takes time, not 5-10 years as people here so ignorantly think. It also takes money, which completely negates the only reason why this would make sense.

While we are still crashing drones and driverless cars, I think I’ll find some security in this job until I retire.

This ^^^^^^^^
Thank you.

rickair7777
04-24-2018, 08:41 PM
Automation is infinitely scalable. So while financial planning and the legal field are taking the hits right now as it relates to AI. AI is AI so when it can figure out how to invest your money and divorce your third wife, landing in a 150kt cross wind with both wings on fire won’t be an issue.

Nobody is going out and designing a replacement pilot, they are designing a human replacement.

You are correct, and that is exactly what it will take, a generalized AI.

But that's still a long way off, and frankly no one really even has any idea how to do it. They're still just trying to design systems which can function reliably on a narrow scope of problems. Windows software which can fill out a boilerplate legal pleading is not the same as one that can represent you at trial...

I've never said it won't happen, to the contrary, I just have a better understanding than most of what it will take, and where we actually stand today.

But a generalized AI will raise a whole host of other issues, since it could probably replace every profession known except for one (the oldest one... ). In order to function at that level it will also need a lifetime's worth of experience (either real or copied), and a conscience/awareness. Ethical dilemma anyone? Not the mention the whole terminator problem which gets very, very real if a machine becomes aware.

3EngineTaxi
04-25-2018, 09:24 AM
How many of the next gen airliners have even hinted at being single pilot or autonomous? A whopping zero. How many airline CEOs have given serious consideration to this? Zero.

Incorrect. At least one prominent cargo CEO has famously stated that single-pilot airliners is his objective. This study proposal didn't get into the bill by accident; it was included because of special-interest lobbyists.

It's becoming increasingly obvious how strongly the elitists, politicians, and the technology crowd despise employees and humans in general.

StrykerB21
04-25-2018, 10:16 AM
Incorrect. At least one prominent cargo CEO has famously stated that single-pilot airliners is his objective.

Who? What carrier?

3EngineTaxi
04-25-2018, 10:21 AM
Who? What carrier?

Memphis....

rickair7777
04-25-2018, 12:02 PM
Incorrect. At least one prominent cargo CEO has famously stated that single-pilot airliners is his objective. This study proposal didn't get into the bill by accident; it was included because of special-interest lobbyists.

It's becoming increasingly obvious how strongly the elitists, politicians, and the technology crowd despise employees and humans in general.

Uber considers human drivers a temporary, annoying, inconvenience too.

The problem some of these "visionary" leaders have is not some much the vision, but the timelines and realities of making it happen.

They also think they'll benefit from ANY quasi-official background noise about automation, on the premise that it might scare labor a bit. Don't fall for it (at least not this century).

Sluggo_63
04-25-2018, 02:32 PM
..........

terks43
04-25-2018, 05:20 PM
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Good lord help us the sky is falling!

RckyMtHigh
04-26-2018, 05:04 AM
The last generation of military fighter pilots has probably been born already. Mil is pushing unmanned cargo ops and the FAA has recently certified an optionally manned UH-1 helo. It's going to happen on the civilian side as well, it's just a matter of time. Guys in the business now are probably pretty safe, but the future of aviation is going to be vastly different from today. There might not even be much of a future of aviation. Why travel to Orlando when you can experience the sights, sounds, and feel of Disney in your own virtual reality world? Do you really need that widget from Amazon delivered when you can 3D print one at home?

My 5 year old said the other day he wanted to be a pilot (although he may have said pirate, I'm not too sure). I don't think he will retire 60 years from now after a career in manned aviation. There's better odds of him being a pirate than that happening.

rickair7777
04-26-2018, 11:30 AM
The last generation of military fighter pilots has probably been born already.

No. Definitely No. While some senior DoD political appointees talked out of their arses about unmanned tacair a few years ago, both USN and USAF are starting 6th gen fighter programs and both are manned.

The only real benefits to be gained are slightly better endurance and higher G's. But you if you really need a 15 G dogfighter, you can have an AP mode that pulls the turn and takes the shot and then gives the jet back to the pilot when he wakes up. Never say dogfighting is dead but most future a2a combat (and recent historical examples) involve missiles at longer range. Reality is that AI type advances will be used to augment human pilot capabilities, the human may become battle-manager, adult supervision, and installed backup. But he'll still be there.

The risks are legion. We don't have AI that can adapt on the fly so if they bad guys figure out how to defeat it they'll have a window of opportunity to do a lot of damage. Hacking, jamming are more significant issues. A human can go into autonomous lone wolf mode but that would be very risky to let automation do that. There are also major unresolved ethical, political, and legal issues.

The ONLY way this is happening in the near future is if somebody else does it and succeeds... we might conceivably need to react to that. But there's only two players of concern and we generally know what they're up to.


Mil is pushing unmanned cargo ops and the FAA has recently certified an optionally manned UH-1 helo.

Mil is exploring unmanned cargo in the TACTICAL realm. They are not even REMOTELY considering unmanned airlift in the real world, for all the same reasons that airlines aren't.

There is no consideration for unmanned aircraft with pax on board, except for battlefield medevac where the only other option is to die while waiting.



It's going to happen on the civilian side as well, it's just a matter of time. Guys in the business now are probably pretty safe, but the future of aviation is going to be vastly different from today. There might not even be much of a future of aviation. Why travel to Orlando when you can experience the sights, sounds, and feel of Disney in your own virtual reality world? Do you really need that widget from Amazon delivered when you can 3D print one at home?

Future generations may well be less inclined to travel because they have more entertainment options at home. But population growth and increasing affluence will probably more than offset that. I would anticipate that living one's life primarily in a VR world would be the province of the dregs of society.

Home 3D printers will work for some things (like a spatula), but not for any of the highly complex consumer products (particularly anything with embedded digital computers) which we take for granted. The technology to 3D print something like a computer monitor at home is centuries away. That's comparable to leaping from hammering out iron horseshoes to making a titanium jet engine N2 core in your garage.

RckyMtHigh
04-26-2018, 02:07 PM
No. Definitely No. While some senior DoD political appointees talked out of their arses about unmanned tacair a few years ago, both USN and USAF are starting 6th gen fighter programs and both are manned.

The only real benefits to be gained are slightly better endurance and higher G's. But you if you really need a 15 G dogfighter, you can have an AP mode that pulls the turn and takes the shot and then gives the jet back to the pilot when he wakes up. Never say dogfighting is dead but most future a2a combat (and recent historical examples) involve missiles at longer range. Reality is that AI type advances will be used to augment human pilot capabilities, the human may become battle-manager, adult supervision, and installed backup. But he'll still be there.

The risks are legion. We don't have AI that can adapt on the fly so if they bad guys figure out how to defeat it they'll have a window of opportunity to do a lot of damage. Hacking, jamming are more significant issues. A human can go into autonomous lone wolf mode but that would be very risky to let automation do that. There are also major unresolved ethical, political, and legal issues.

The ONLY way this is happening in the near future is if somebody else does it and succeeds... we might conceivably need to react to that. But there's only two players of concern and we generally know what they're up to.



Mil is exploring unmanned cargo in the TACTICAL realm. They are not even REMOTELY considering unmanned airlift in the real world, for all the same reasons that airlines aren't.

There is no consideration for unmanned aircraft with pax on board, except for battlefield medevac where the only other option is to die while waiting.




Future generations may well be less inclined to travel because they have more entertainment options at home. But population growth and increasing affluence will probably more than offset that. I would anticipate that living one's life primarily in a VR world would be the province of the dregs of society.

Home 3D printers will work for some things (like a spatula), but not for any of the highly complex consumer products (particularly anything with embedded digital computers) which we take for granted. The technology to 3D print something like a computer monitor at home is centuries away. That's comparable to leaping from hammering out iron horseshoes to making a titanium jet engine N2 core in your garage.

I would say the only real benefit of unmanned tacair is not risking the political fallout of a shootdown. Look at the latest Syrian strike - no one came close to penetrating their airspace. Why risk it when you can launch missiles or a wave of drones from over the horizon? I thought I heard that the next gen fighter was going to be optionally manned. I could be wrong there.

How are people going to feel when you can get them LA to Paris in an hour on an unmanned scramjet? Oh it's a fully configurable detachable cabin equipped with a ballistic escape system in case of any issues. Or you can sit with your knees in your chest for 14 hours on the current fleet of aircraft because it's got a pilot up front. Maybe Musk is going to bore tunnels across the US and link cities together with 700 mph mag lev trains running off green energy.

I don't know what the future is for airline travel. I do know we went from a powered kite with one dude laying on it to landing on the moon in 65 years. 20 years ago no one was thinking you would be walking around with a powerful computer in the palm of your hand that instantly connected you to the entire world. Something will come along to revolutionize travel. I'm not smart enough to know when and what form that will take.

The horse and buggy manufacturers never thought the automobile would catch on.

Interesting conversation though.

rickair7777
04-26-2018, 05:52 PM
I would say the only real benefit of unmanned tacair is not risking the political fallout of a shootdown. Look at the latest Syrian strike - no one came close to penetrating their airspace. Why risk it when you can launch missiles or a wave of drones from over the horizon? I thought I heard that the next gen fighter was going to be optionally manned. I could be wrong there.

You're confusing low-intensity, politically-sensitive, stand-off meddling with war. Nobody in the military is making that mistake.

The priority for combat aircraft is winning against peer competitors. They can use MQ-9 if they need to bomb third-world ground formations and ensure none of our people get hurt.



How are people going to feel when you can get them LA to Paris in an hour on an unmanned scramjet? Oh it's a fully configurable detachable cabin equipped with a ballistic escape system in case of any issues. Or you can sit with your knees in your chest for 14 hours on the current fleet of aircraft because it's got a pilot up front.

You can do that with manned aircraft. Getting rid of pilots doesn't make it faster. From a technology readiness level, supersonic airliners or even scramjets are far more plausible than un-piloted pax aircraft. Artificial Generalized Intelligence does not exist, and no one knows how to make one. To say nothing of the ethical, certification, and reliability/safety issues if it did exist.



Maybe Musk is going to bore tunnels across the US and link cities together with 700 mph mag lev trains running off green energy.

Maybe someday. But that infrastructure is going to cost about $1 Billion per mile (in the flatlands). The flight levels are free, and you can stack and offset planes. You need to break this down to the basics: Greed. Who's going to pay for it, and what do they expect to get out of it? If you can't answer that, it's not happening.

Kind of like going to the moon... we did that to beat the Ruskies. If Uncle Sugar is going to write the check, he'll need a darn good reason. If businesses are going to write the check, they'll need to be able to articulate technology readiness and an ROI timeline to the BoD.



I don't know what the future is for airline travel. I do know we went from a powered kite with one dude laying on it to landing on the moon in 65 years. 20 years ago no one was thinking you would be walking around with a powerful computer in the palm of your hand that instantly connected you to the entire world. Something will come along to revolutionize travel. I'm not smart enough to know when and what form that will take.

The horse and buggy manufacturers never thought the automobile would catch on.

Interesting conversation though.

I'm not saying it's not going to happen, I'm saying many folks don't understand all the hurdles. I am by no means going to ignore history and make blanket statements about what cannot happen in the future.

Frankly I'm a tad disappointed in the lack of progress in aerospace and space since I was a kid. I expected more by now. Politics and economics got in the way of cool whiz-bang new stuff.

A Squared
04-26-2018, 07:39 PM
Ships do do this, they have harbor pilots that join the crew for docking the ship. They make the big bucks too, $400K is the average salary.


Huh? :confused: Putting a Pilot who has specific local knowledge of a harbor, aboard a ship when that ship is operating into or out of the harbor is nothing remotely like what's being proposed.

Mesabah
04-26-2018, 10:16 PM
Huh? :confused: Putting a Pilot who has specific local knowledge of a harbor, aboard a ship when that ship is operating into or out of the harbor is nothing remotely like what's being proposed.
With single pilot, they would put in a second pilot virtually, during high workloads. That may even not be necessary.

A Squared
04-26-2018, 10:20 PM
With single pilot, they would put in a second pilot virtually, during high workloads. That may even not be necessary.

the pilots are put on board because they have specific knowledge of the channels, procedures, markings hazards and other local conditions of that particular location, that the crew of an oceangoing vessel wouldn't have, and couldn't be expected to have. The pilot isn't put on board because they are shorthanded by 1 person on the bridge.

tomgoodman
04-27-2018, 05:48 AM
With single pilot, they would put in a second pilot virtually, during high workloads. That may even not be necessary.

The current system is even better: Two pilots on board, and during periods of low workload, they “virtually” go to one pilot while the other one takes a nap. :D

rickair7777
04-27-2018, 06:50 AM
the pilots are put on board because they have specific knowledge of the channels, procedures, markings hazards and other local conditions of that particular location, that the crew of an oceangoing vessel wouldn't have, and couldn't be expected to have. The pilot isn't put on board because they are shorthanded by 1 person on the bridge.

Yes that's an apples to oranges comparison with aviation. No relevance.

They don't do it by remote control either, in fact they occasionally die getting on and off the ships.

Aero1900
04-27-2018, 09:58 AM
As long as Teslas keep hitting semi trucks and swerving into concrete barriers, our jobs are safe.

snackysmores
04-27-2018, 03:20 PM
Wasn't NextGen and RNP introduced back in '96? Yet here we are, still getting vectored for a 20nm ILS in 2018.

Mgt: "How can we seamlessly enhance trafflic flow and improve our approach capabilities?"
ATC/FAA/Pilots: "Spend money."
Mgt: "Nevermind."

Our airline has an RNP 0.1 approach to almost every airport we fly into. How often do we get to use them? Maybe 5% of the time because no one else can.

tm602
04-28-2018, 08:02 AM
Thats why there will NEVER BE A PILOT SHORTAGE!!

Come on man! Kit Darby was just dusting off his briefcase!

C130driver
04-28-2018, 09:03 AM
The last generation of military fighter pilots has probably been born already. Mil is pushing unmanned cargo ops and the FAA has recently certified an optionally manned UH-1 helo. It's going to happen on the civilian side as well, it's just a matter of time. Guys in the business now are probably pretty safe, but the future of aviation is going to be vastly different from today. There might not even be much of a future of aviation. Why travel to Orlando when you can experience the sights, sounds, and feel of Disney in your own virtual reality world? Do you really need that widget from Amazon delivered when you can 3D print one at home?

My 5 year old said the other day he wanted to be a pilot (although he may have said pirate, I'm not too sure). I don't think he will retire 60 years from now after a career in manned aviation. There's better odds of him being a pirate than that happening.

None of what you said is factually correct, especially unmanned cargo ops? That is simply untrue. We are still flying 40 year old C-130Hs.

RckyMtHigh
04-28-2018, 07:10 PM
None of what you said is factually correct, especially unmanned cargo ops? That is simply untrue. We are still flying 40 year old C-130Hs.

Never said it was happening now, said military is pursuing it.

On the cargo side...

https://www.military.com/defensetech/2017/12/13/marine-corps-shows-drone-helicopter.html

AACUS is designed to deliver vital combat supplies such as ammunition, fuel, food, water and even blood to Marines and other combat troops operating in remote locations that are inaccessible by vehicles and greatly increase the risks to pilots flying resupply missions, Aurora officials said.

"It has a software package that enables it to make mission decisions on its own; it has a suite of sensors that allows it get information from the environment to inform its decision, and it is pushing the envelope on autonomous capabilities," Walter Jones, executive director of the Office of Naval Research, told an audience at the demonstration. "It can navigate to the location, even in a GPS-compromised area; it can determine the best location for a safe landing ... in low-visibility conditions.”

Challenger Aerospace readies newest cargo unmanned aerial vehicle - Defence Blog (http://defence-blog.com/news/challenger-aerospace-readies-newest-cargo-unmanned-aerial-vehicle.html)

“The Titan is an innovative cargo UAV designed for carrying out military transport missions. With a maximum take-off weight of around 3.5 tonnes, the Titan is one of the biggest cargo UAV int the World.”

http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/2018/03/uav-marine-corps-ship-based.html

“Marine Corps leaders intend the future MUX unmanned aircraft to have an unrefueled combat radius with payload of 350 to 700 nautical miles; cruise speeds between 200 and 300 knots; time on station of 8 to 12 hours; internal payload capability of 3,000 pounds; external payload capability of 3,000 to 9,000 pounds; ability to operate from ships and austere fields; ability to receive aerial refueling; operate in all weather; and ability to operate in national air space.”

And fighter side from the Air Force Research Lab...

“Loyal Wingman, or unmanned fighters that can think autonomously, will be sent out alongside F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to scout enemy territory ahead of a strike, or to gather intel for the pilot in the formation. A flight demo is expected sometime in 2022.”

https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/03/26/air-force-offers-glimpse-6th-gen-fighters-future-flight-suits.html

bay982
04-29-2018, 06:30 AM
AIA: Large Passenger/Cargo UAS Market To Reach $30 Billion By 2036

Feb 26, 2018 Graham Warwick | Aviation Week & Space Technology

The advent of large commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), for cargo and passengers, is closer than most people believe, and legislators and regulators should begin work now to enable their certification and introduction over the next 20 years, says a new report by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).

Annual spending on large commercial UAS, now a few hundred million dollars on research and development, is forecast to rise to $4 billion by 2028 and reach almost $30 billion by 2036, forecasts the report by the U.S. trade group and consultancy Avascent.

Growth will be driven by demand from airlines for unmanned cargo and passenger aircraft, with their lower cost of operations, the report projects. This will begin around 2025 with short-haul cargo flights at relatively low altitude over rural areas.

Sensor-carrying large UAS will lead the way, from 2018-24

Short-haul cargo flights in rural areas will follow in 2025-31

Long-haul cargo and passenger UAS will appear around 2032

Prototypes of long-haul passenger and cargo UAS will roll out early in the 2030s, with freighter aircraft entering service on international and domestic routes by the mid-2030s. UAS will account for a small, but increasing share of passenger aircraft deliveries by 2040, the report forecasts.

The report was drawn up in consultation with manufacturers, service providers and likely users of large UAS including package delivery companies, says David Silver, vice president for civil aviation at the AIA.

“Technology paces the time line, and it should. We do not want regulation to pace innovation,” he says. “The technology is a lot nearer than people imagine. We need to start thinking about rulemaking now—how we are going to certify an unmanned aircraft for cargo or passengers—and not leave it to the end.”

Because of the time required to develop large commercial aircraft, the AIA is calling for work to begin on defining the regulations. “We can see unmanned passenger aircraft in a 2030s time frame. But given the time to design a large aircraft, for OEMs to discuss this they need to have certification targets,” he says.

Today commercial use of UAS is limited to vehicles below 55 lb. In the near term, the report expects UAS heavier than 55 lb. to be introduced for sensor-carrying missions such as infrastructure inspection, agricultural monitoring and firefighting. But the AIA believes the real value will be at the upper end of the market, says Silver.

While manufacturers of military surveillance UAS are struggling to create an equivalent commercial business, cargo and passenger UAS may prove an easier sell. “If you think about larger aircraft, the rules of the road are already there, and it comes down to the means of compliance [with certification requirements],” says Silver. “If you can drive out cost [by removing the pilot], there is an incentive for airlines to purchase them. The monetization is already built in.”

The new document—the AIA’s first market report in 20 years, Silver says—is intended to show that large commercial UAS are closer than many realize but that action will be required to enable their development and operation.

“Regulations tell us what we are allowed to do and what the limits of operation are. For manufacturers to invest in R&D, they need to know the high-level targets for meeting those regulations,” he says.

The report makes three recommendations. First is for regulators to codify near-term needs for detect-and-avoid operations, autonomous systems certification and spectrum allocation for command-and-control links. Regulators also should focus increasingly on large certifiable UAS operating alongside manned aircraft in airspace above 18,000 ft.

Secondly, international efforts should be harmonized to avoid what the AIA calls “confusing, contrary and duplicative” regulatory regimes. “There should be increased regulatory reliance to performance-based international consensus standards,” the report says. But the work of the many different industry groups developing these standards must be coordinated. Silver says.

Thirdly, the multinational Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), intended to prevent the proliferation of cruise missiles, “must be reformed to distinguish between missiles and civilian UAS,” the report recommends. The U.S. government has already launched a review of the MTCR to ease the export of military UAS, “but we need to work to make sure the guidelines are appropriate to what they are being applied to,” Silver says.

For the AIA, he says, a good outcome from release of the new report would be the creation of an FAA advisory rulemaking committee, or ARC, to make recommendations to the agency on how certification regulations could be changed to enable the development of large commercial UAS.

One possibility, he says, could be to leverage the FAA’s new Part 23 regulations—revamped in 2017 to allow the use of industry-developed consensus standards for certification compliance—to be “built upward” to include large UAS.

The report concludes that almost $150 billion could be spent on large unmanned aircraft in 2018-36. “There is a huge market out there that manufacturers are not talking about publicly, although they are privately,” says Silver. “We wanted to bring it to the attention of legislators and regulators so they can get to work now. The U.S. either leads this market, or we end up playing catch-up to Airbus or China.”

METO Guido
04-29-2018, 06:39 AM
One pilot on flight deck duty, no pilot at all. Fine. But with the maneuvering, navigating and communicating accomplished, what's left? Decision making for one thing. On site accountability. The perception of control. Consider all the verification, confirmation & reassignment of tasking as even minor change forever finds its way into the most impervious flight plan. On a really chitty night, with a terrified cabin or Dr. Dao's evil twin shrieking his lungs out. How does that happen remotely, in a universe of hair triggered, liability pitfalls, when big smoking hulls are broadcast in real time? No bucks, no Buck Rogers. My God, who would eat all those crew meals?

rickair7777
04-29-2018, 10:56 AM
Never said it was happening now, said military is pursuing it.

On the cargo side...

https://www.military.com/defensetech/2017/12/13/marine-corps-shows-drone-helicopter.html

AACUS is designed to deliver vital combat supplies such as ammunition, fuel, food, water and even blood to Marines and other combat troops operating in remote locations that are inaccessible by vehicles and greatly increase the risks to pilots flying resupply missions, Aurora officials said.

"It has a software package that enables it to make mission decisions on its own; it has a suite of sensors that allows it get information from the environment to inform its decision, and it is pushing the envelope on autonomous capabilities," Walter Jones, executive director of the Office of Naval Research, told an audience at the demonstration. "It can navigate to the location, even in a GPS-compromised area; it can determine the best location for a safe landing ... in low-visibility conditions.”

Challenger Aerospace readies newest cargo unmanned aerial vehicle - Defence Blog (http://defence-blog.com/news/challenger-aerospace-readies-newest-cargo-unmanned-aerial-vehicle.html)

“The Titan is an innovative cargo UAV designed for carrying out military transport missions. With a maximum take-off weight of around 3.5 tonnes, the Titan is one of the biggest cargo UAV int the World.”

http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/2018/03/uav-marine-corps-ship-based.html

“Marine Corps leaders intend the future MUX unmanned aircraft to have an unrefueled combat radius with payload of 350 to 700 nautical miles; cruise speeds between 200 and 300 knots; time on station of 8 to 12 hours; internal payload capability of 3,000 pounds; external payload capability of 3,000 to 9,000 pounds; ability to operate from ships and austere fields; ability to receive aerial refueling; operate in all weather; and ability to operate in national air space.”

This is where it will happen first, in a combat zone. They can fly on military reservations and in combat, but not in national airspace mixed with other aircraft. Nothing new, preds have been doing this for years.

And fighter side from the Air Force Research Lab...


“Loyal Wingman, or unmanned fighters that can think autonomously, will be sent out alongside F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to scout enemy territory ahead of a strike, or to gather intel for the pilot in the formation. A flight demo is expected sometime in 2022.”

https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/03/26/air-force-offers-glimpse-6th-gen-fighters-future-flight-suits.html

It doesn't replace fighters, or pilots. It supplements the capability of the fighter. Certainly a small step in the autonomous direction, but it is a very huge gulf away from replacing human pilots in fighters.

rickair7777
04-29-2018, 11:06 AM
AIA: Large Passenger/Cargo UAS Market To Reach $30 Billion By 2036

Feb 26, 2018 Graham Warwick | Aviation Week & Space Technology

The advent of large commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), for cargo and passengers, is closer than most people believe, and legislators and regulators should begin work now to enable their certification and introduction over the next 20 years, says a new report by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).

Annual spending on large commercial UAS, now a few hundred million dollars on research and development, is forecast to rise to $4 billion by 2028 and reach almost $30 billion by 2036, forecasts the report by the U.S. trade group and consultancy Avascent.

Growth will be driven by demand from airlines for unmanned cargo and passenger aircraft, with their lower cost of operations, the report projects. This will begin around 2025 with short-haul cargo flights at relatively low altitude over rural areas.

Sensor-carrying large UAS will lead the way, from 2018-24

Short-haul cargo flights in rural areas will follow in 2025-31

Long-haul cargo and passenger UAS will appear around 2032

Prototypes of long-haul passenger and cargo UAS will roll out early in the 2030s, with freighter aircraft entering service on international and domestic routes by the mid-2030s. UAS will account for a small, but increasing share of passenger aircraft deliveries by 2040, the report forecasts.

The report was drawn up in consultation with manufacturers, service providers and likely users of large UAS including package delivery companies, says David Silver, vice president for civil aviation at the AIA.

“Technology paces the time line, and it should. We do not want regulation to pace innovation,” he says. “The technology is a lot nearer than people imagine. We need to start thinking about rulemaking now—how we are going to certify an unmanned aircraft for cargo or passengers—and not leave it to the end.”

Because of the time required to develop large commercial aircraft, the AIA is calling for work to begin on defining the regulations. “We can see unmanned passenger aircraft in a 2030s time frame. But given the time to design a large aircraft, for OEMs to discuss this they need to have certification targets,” he says.

Today commercial use of UAS is limited to vehicles below 55 lb. In the near term, the report expects UAS heavier than 55 lb. to be introduced for sensor-carrying missions such as infrastructure inspection, agricultural monitoring and firefighting. But the AIA believes the real value will be at the upper end of the market, says Silver.

While manufacturers of military surveillance UAS are struggling to create an equivalent commercial business, cargo and passenger UAS may prove an easier sell. “If you think about larger aircraft, the rules of the road are already there, and it comes down to the means of compliance [with certification requirements],” says Silver. “If you can drive out cost [by removing the pilot], there is an incentive for airlines to purchase them. The monetization is already built in.”

The new document—the AIA’s first market report in 20 years, Silver says—is intended to show that large commercial UAS are closer than many realize but that action will be required to enable their development and operation.

“Regulations tell us what we are allowed to do and what the limits of operation are. For manufacturers to invest in R&D, they need to know the high-level targets for meeting those regulations,” he says.

The report makes three recommendations. First is for regulators to codify near-term needs for detect-and-avoid operations, autonomous systems certification and spectrum allocation for command-and-control links. Regulators also should focus increasingly on large certifiable UAS operating alongside manned aircraft in airspace above 18,000 ft.

Secondly, international efforts should be harmonized to avoid what the AIA calls “confusing, contrary and duplicative” regulatory regimes. “There should be increased regulatory reliance to performance-based international consensus standards,” the report says. But the work of the many different industry groups developing these standards must be coordinated. Silver says.

Thirdly, the multinational Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), intended to prevent the proliferation of cruise missiles, “must be reformed to distinguish between missiles and civilian UAS,” the report recommends. The U.S. government has already launched a review of the MTCR to ease the export of military UAS, “but we need to work to make sure the guidelines are appropriate to what they are being applied to,” Silver says.

For the AIA, he says, a good outcome from release of the new report would be the creation of an FAA advisory rulemaking committee, or ARC, to make recommendations to the agency on how certification regulations could be changed to enable the development of large commercial UAS.

One possibility, he says, could be to leverage the FAA’s new Part 23 regulations—revamped in 2017 to allow the use of industry-developed consensus standards for certification compliance—to be “built upward” to include large UAS.

The report concludes that almost $150 billion could be spent on large unmanned aircraft in 2018-36. “There is a huge market out there that manufacturers are not talking about publicly, although they are privately,” says Silver. “We wanted to bring it to the attention of legislators and regulators so they can get to work now. The U.S. either leads this market, or we end up playing catch-up to Airbus or China.”

Let me summarize: A trade group would like to sell un-piloted cargo and pax aircraft because it would make their customers (the airlines) happy to reduce labor costs. Naturally they want the government to pave the way for them. The catch is that nobody knows how to regulate or certify highly-flexible artificial intelligence systems which don't exist.

You can worry when a senior congressional leader announces that it's absolutely imperative that the federal government ELIMINATE 100,000 well-paying airline jobs (the majority of which are held by veterans), and moves to commit $200 billion to R&D and a complete re-engineering of ATC in the US. Even that might not be enough... the US is a big market, but it would be hard to justify the R&D ROI on a state-of-the-art airliner which can only be sold in the US... might need the rest of the world onboard too.



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