BOEING JUST GOT into the autonomous aviation game, with the goal of building jetliners that fly themselves, no pilots required. “The basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available,” Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice president of product development, said ahead of the Paris Airshow.
The prospect of a pilotless passenger plane may strike you as crazy, even terrifying. But developing computer systems sophisticated enough to pull it off is well under way. Autopilot technology already does most of the work once a plane is aloft, and has no trouble landing an airliner even in rough weather and limited visibility.
Boeing wants to take another step toward taking humans out of the equation by developing artificial intelligence capable of making even more of the decisions pilots make. Boeing plans to test a system in a simulator this summer.