If you regard self-driving cars with quiet skepticism — you know that guy, the one still on the fence about the horseless carriage — you absolutely do not want to know about Boeing's foray into the inevitable upgrade: self-flying planes.
As you may or may not know, computers are already behind the controls for most of your flight, minus take-off and landing. In other words: we are far from the days of Antoine de Saint-Exupery fiddling with his engine after crash-landing in the Sahara.
Just like your car, your plane already has a computer making your trip better/faster/safer. "It’s estimated that they may do up to 95% of the work on a standard short flight," said one Boeing exec. The Seattle-based company expects pilot-less planes to take to the sky in 2018, at least in a testing capacity.
Boeing also said that it regards Captain Chesley Sullenberger's much-ballyhooed 2009 emergency landing on the Hudson as the must-be-equaled feat of self-piloting prior to pilotless passenger flights.
"I have no idea how we’re going to do that but we’re studying it right now and we’re developing those algorithms," one executive told Lonely Planet.
Trust in the algorithm?