'Aircraft manufacturer Airbus says "the technology for autonomous flying" is already here, and the only obstacles to progress are regulators - and "the traveling public," understandably wary of pilotless planes.
Ever since two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft went down within six months of each other due to a glitch in the plane's computerized flight control system, killing everyone onboard, airline passengers have had good reason to be leery of placing their lives in the hands of computers. News that Boeing was aware of the problems with its MCAS system and packaged the software "fix" as an add-on to extract more money from its customers only adds to fliers' distrust of the company. But what about Airbus, its main competitor?
Airbus chief salesman Christian Scherer acknowledged in an interview with AP that the Boeing horror "highlighted and underlined the need for absolute, uncompromising safety in this industry," but says his company's sales strategy has not changed. Airbus is focused on convincing regulators and passengers to embrace the pilotless planes the company can already build. "Technology-wise, we don't see a hurdle," he said - it's merely a matter of "perception in the traveling public" and getting the regulators' go-ahead.
The last pilot to survive flying the doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX that went down in October was able to manually override the aircraft's faulty flight control system when it tipped the plane's nose down. But what if there were no pilot on board? While Airbus sees single-pilot operation as an intermediate step, its end goal is to remove humans from the equation entirely - meaning passengers have no choice but to trust the computer.'
Read More: Airbus attempts to sell the world on pilotless planes - or would you rather fly Boeing?
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