The European aircraft manufacturer will set up an innovation centre in China to develop autonomous flying technologies
Driverless cars, smart cities, robots doing our everyday jobs – the future is feeling closer every day. Technological companies from around the world are competing with each other who will come up with yet another breakthrough.
The next is Airbus, who have announced plans for an autonomous aircraft.
Paul Eremenko, Airbus Chief Technology Officer, announced their plans to create the new planes as well as single pilot based technologies to operate commercial jetliners.
“The more disruptive approach is to say maybe we can reduce the crew needs for our future aircraft,” Eremenko told Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.
“We’re pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen has also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation.”
The situation in aviation, therefore, resembles the car industry where various firms are investing billions into the development of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.
The aim is to reduce costs for the commercial carriers, for whom the presence of two pilots in the cockpit has been the reality for decades. It has also become mandatory after a German pilot crashed into the Alps killing 150 passengers.
The technologies allowing Airbus to get one or both pilots out of the cabin are a challenge they are willing to tackle.
The company has agreed to launch an innovation centre in China. Their task will be to accelerate the aviation technologies research and to explore the future of air travel. According to Emerenko, China will help give them the chance to develop such technologies.
“I think the general aviation space in China is just opening up,” Eremenko said in Hong Kong.
“There’s an opportunity for China to sort of take a leap ahead as it has been prone to do in other areas and design the aerospace system, design the regulatory regime to be future looking, forward looking to enable urban air mobility.”