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Old 12-05-2011, 10:12 AM
  #10  
David C French
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Kind of like the tram at Disney or perhaps an airport near you. Airbus kind of put the pilotless into commercial aviation basically boiling it down to the "pilot" suggesting to the computers where he/she would like to go and what he/she would like to do and after a few layers of computer discuss it he/she may (most likely) or may not (occasionally) go do what he/she want/need to. Boeings 777 and 787 now have a similar system but with different laws and limits. My understanding is that in an Airbus with fly by wire if the "pilot" screws up to the point it will take a 2.1 gee pull to avoid a mountain, the computer will limit the pull to the certified 2.0 gee which could result in an attempt to fly through something much more substantial the thin air. Boeing has basically the same laws with the exception that if the pilot/s upon reaching the 2.0 gee limit needs more gee to avoid a more substantial substance, he/she must apply an additional 90 pounds back pressure on the yoke to exceed the certified max load factor. (This may require additional airframe inspections and a shorter airframe life, but the pilots driving the Boeing still have an airplane and their lives)
Pilotless, driverless, operatorless vehicles of all sorts are coming. Just got to make sure the engineers and programmers operate the first generations as they work the bugs/virus's out of them.