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Recent Advances In Commercial Aviation Safety: Pilotless Planes

Jul 15, 2019

Technology in the Cockpit

We’ve all heard of the push to develop driverless car technology so it makes sense that the most recent advance in commercial aviation safety is the pilotless plane.

One such aircraft was tested this month in New York. Thom Patterson of CNN wrote that the experimental plane known as Centaur, “flew with no pilot in the cockpit, becoming the first large-scale fixed wing unmanned aircraft to fly at an FAA-approved test site, according to Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., which makes the Centaur. It represents an important new step toward airplanes without pilots in the cockpit being able to fly in the nation’s commercial airspace.”

Reducing Human Error

Aircraft today have a variety of sensors and advanced switches, like those designed and manufactured by Custom Control Sensors LLC (CCS), to alert operators to possible hazardous changes in aircraft systems such as flight control, propulsion, and fluid management, and to compensate automatically when possible.  However human error and intent are still the least controllable risk factors facing the safety of aviation and technologies allowing for remote operation of the aircraft could be utilized to mitigate or prevent incidents in the air caused by human error.

John Markoff reported in the New York Times in April that “advances in sensor technology, computing and artificial intelligence are making human pilots less necessary than ever in the cockpit.”

Automation that requires extremely reliable use of sensors, in time could also reduce or eliminate the risk of accidents, medical emergencies in the cockpit and errors made by stressed or sleep-deprived crew.  Today’s commercial airliners are safer than ever with new technologies relying on switches and sensors from CCS to control a variety of aircraft systems by providing accurate and reliable pressure and temperature measurement.