Morning Buzz

We're Doomed: Pilotless Flights May Be the Future of Air Travel

Okay technology, we were alright when you replaced our plane tickets with mobile apps, our check-in desks with kiosks, and our in-person safety demonstrations with cartoon videos, but when you took the pilots out of the plane, we began to get concerned.

An unmanned air vehicle (UAV) took its first fight in shared airspace, in the UK last month. The 16-seater Jetstream aircraft, also known as the "Flying Testbed," pioneered its 500-mile journey sans passengers from Warton to Inverness using technology such as on-board sensors and robotics to avoid collisions and other airborne dangers.

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Oddly reminiscent of a child using a remote control toy, a pilot on the ground navigated the plane's journey with guidance from National Air Traffic Services while another pilot (presumably the one that drew the short straw) stayed on board to manage the take-off and landing of the flight.

Although this technology is still in its very early stages, the UAV which has received £62m in funding from commercial companies and the UK government, could one day be regulated for civilian use. That makes it a big day for aviation fans, and even better tomorrow for the makers of Xanax.

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Katie Johnson
Contact: Katie Johnson