Airbus exploring single-pilot, autonomous aircraft in tech race

3760
0

Airbus is looking to develop autonomous aircraft and technologies that will allow a single pilot to operate commercial jetliners, helping cut costs for carriers, Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko said.

“The more disruptive approach is to say maybe we can reduce the crew needs for our future aircraft,” Eremenko said in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.

“We’re pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen has also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation.”

The aerospace industry has begun seeing a similar trend as the car market, where automakers are investing in or acquiring autonomous driving startups.

Plane manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing are racing to develop artificial intelligence that will one day enable computers to fly planes without human beings at the controls.

Airbus has a division called Urban Air Mobility that is exploring technology from on-demand helicopter rides to delivery drones. Boeing said last month it purchased a company that is developing flying taxis for Uber Technologies and also bought into a hybrid-electric airplane company.

Last week, Airbus agreed to set up an innovation centre in China’s Shenzhen, near Hong Kong. The facility will help accelerate research needed to chart the future of air travel, and China will provide Airbus an opportunity to design and develop such technologies, Eremenko said.

Last week, Airbus agreed to set up an innovation centre in China’s Shenzhen, near Hong Kong. The facility will help accelerate research needed to chart the future of air travel, and China will provide Airbus an opportunity to design and develop such technologies, Eremenko said.

Comments