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Aerospace System for use in case of emergency in aircraft.

  1. Nov 20, 2012 #1
    l have heard of auto pilot option in flying aircraft. do we have similarly the concept of takeover by the machine with/without the consent of pilot in case pilot cannot answer to safely land the air craft.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2012 #2


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    Fly by wire systems will directly override the pilot if he does something stupid, but only overriding stick and rudder inputs -- but they won't unilaterally decide where the plane should go or land it.
  4. Nov 23, 2012 #3
    Automatas make many mistakes. I'd dislike the idea that a machine decides that the human is out of order.

    Presently we have a co-pilot and this looks more reasonable.

    Rather than the machine taking over, I'd prefer a remote control of the plane. With telemetry and cameras, and other pilot - possibly on the ground or in flight - could take over.

    Then, it introduces new failure mechanisms and weaknesses, including to tamper. "Not sure" this would improve safety. Think of the drones pirated by Iranians.
  5. Nov 24, 2012 #4


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    Don't know about the "without the consent of the pilot" part, but I've recently been hearing advertisements for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, whose autopilot can land the aircraft autonomously. I didn't find a link to that feature explicitly, but here is the general 787 link:

    http://www.boeing.co.uk/Products-Services/Commercial-Airplanes/787/ [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Nov 24, 2012 #5


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    I'm not sure what specific feature they are advertising there, but almost all commericial aircraft landings are effectively done autonomously already, though there are varying amounts of human input required to get the autopilot communicating iwth the airfield instrument landing system (ILS). The reason is the experimental evidence that on average, autopilots land aircraft more safely than humans.

    However the human pilot is still very much in the control loop (and legally responsible for being in control of the aircraft at all times), since autopilots can't respond to Air Traffic Control radio messages like "the plane in front of you has just crashed and blocked the runway you were about to hand on"!

    IIRC the 787 does have one new navigational "party trick", which is the ability to automatically steer itself around the airfield after landing to the correct ramp at the terminal. That might sound like a gimmick, but it's not unknown for pilots to "get lost" or take the wrong turning, and backing a big airliner out of a dead-end can soon create a logjam of following traffic, to the point where the airfield can't accept any more landings.
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