Airplane pilots could be joining the ranks of those who lost a job due to advanced technology taking over.
BAE Systems, multinational defence, security and aerospace company, is starting a program in which they'll be testing pilotless aircrafts. This summer, trials will be conducted in UK civil airspace to show that these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can be safely flown over Britain. Currently, the planes are being tested over the Irish Sea in a series of over 20 flights.
BAE will be using a modified BAE Jetstream 31, a small 18-seated aircraft to conduct the trials. The planes will be controlled by a ground commander who operates computers and control systems within the rear of the aircraft remotely.
The plane takes autopilot to another level. It contains a sophisticated weather detection system that will keep it away tough weather systems and heavy clouds. It also has a ''visual sense and avoid'' system that prevents collisions with obstacles like other planes, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The plane is also capable of making an emergency landing and can even detect objects on the ground like animals or people so they can be avoided.
Although the aircrafts will ideally be used to cut down on pilots, pilots will be on board the trial flights to take over controls if the system fails. These aircrafts would be used for search and rescue missions and coastal patrolling, but it could lead to the elimination of a co-pilot on commercial flights and change the airlines industry forever.
BAE Systems' engineering director, Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, who is in charge of the project believes that these unmanned planes can be used on missions that are dangerous and life-risking, Sky News Online reports.
"It would have been useful with the volcanic ash cloud, for instance, when we had no way of actually knowing what was happening, " he told Sky News Online.
Some other examples would be using the aircraft in the event of a nuclear accident. The plane would be able to detect radiation in areas that wouldn't be safe for humans.
Similar systems are used in war zones by military drones, but these tests could take the unmanned aircraft system to commercial and civilian airspace.
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