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Self-Flying Planes Are Proving No Pilots Are Needed For Take-Off & Landing
Having a pilot for taxi, take-off, and landing may be a thing of the past now that Airbus just successfully proved that passengers planes can perform these complex maneuvers without any pilot input.
It’s widely known that aircrafts are currently run by an auto-pilot system, allowing pilots to take a break on long-haul flights. Pilots are responsible for manual takeoffs and landings.
But the Airbus A350-1000 defies flying as we know it as the plane was able to perform taxing, takeoff, and landing fully autonomous – requiring no intervention from the pilots
More than 500 flights were conducted with the new plane, which relied on “image recognition technology” that gave the plane a pair of eyes. The technology, integrated with the A350’s exterior cameras, allowed it to perform the phases of flight entirely on its own, Airbus announced.
In all 500 tests, pilots sat in their seats as the aircraft flew on its own. The only thing they were responsible for was hovering over the steering wheel or what’s referred to as “yoke’ to be ready in case things went wrong.
The first milestone of the Autonomous Taxi, Take-off, and Landing project occurred in December when Airbus was reportedly successful in demonstrating autonomous take-offs from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France. All pilots had to do in the first test was line up the plane with the runway and then sit back and watch as the plane barreled down the runway, lifting off on its own, as reported in Business Insider.
The new technology could change the game on how airlines operate their planes. The A350 is a popular plane and is growing in popularity, Its fleets are currently being used by Virgin Atlantic Airways, Delta Air Lines, Fiji Airways, Air France, Cathay Pacific, South African Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Qatar Airways.
It’s important to note that Airbus states the autonomous technology won’t replace pilots in the cockpit but will make flying safer by helping reduce workload.