29 Nov '11, 4pm

When Will We Have Unmanned Commercial Airliners?

Time was when a uniformed man would close a metal gate, throw a switch, and intone, "Second floor—men's clothing, linens, power tools…" and the carload of people would glide upward. Now each passenger handles the job with a punch of a button and not a hint of white-knuckled hesitation. The first automatic elevator was installed by Otis Elevator Co. in 1924; the things became common in the 1950s. And back in the day, every train had an "engineer" in the cab of the locomotive. Then robo-trains took over intra-airport service, and in the past decade they have appeared on subway lines in Copenhagen, Detroit, Tokyo, and other cities . Quietly, automation has taken charge of many other life-and-death functions. It manages white-hot ribbons of steel that shoot through rolling mills. It guides lasers that sculpt the eye and scalpels that excise the prostate gland. It runs oceangoi...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/aviation/when-will-we-...

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When Will We Have Unmanned Commercial Airliners?

spectrum.ieee.org 29 Nov '11, 7pm

Technical obstacles can be cited: Fully automated planes can't yet visually identify nearby planes, and as for the remotel...

When Will We Have Unmanned Commercial Airliners...

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