If you think British aviation innovation is a thing of the past, think again. Richard Gray, the Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, has written an interesting article about his experiences as the one of the first members of the public to fly aboard an aircraft with a robotic pilot that’s part of a UK government and industry initiative. The aircraft is being tested in British airspace to see how well the robotic pilots can detect and avoid another small aircraft that’s flown towards it on a collision course.
Thanks to on board cameras, the robotic pilot system is able to pick up fast jets, parachutists and even birds. It can then quickly calculate the course these threats are on and determine the chances for a collision.
Richard wrote that during five or six simulations, the robotic pilot was able to bank the aircraft gently to avoid having a collision. In fact, the closest the aircraft came to having one was 1,200 feet.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail recently had an article about BAE System’s Mantis fighter jet that will be able to fly on its own for 24 hours with neither a cockpit nor a pilot on board.
Flight tests are set for next year and if everything goes according to plan, it could mean the end of British fighter pilots along with conventional aircraft like the F-35. In other words, too much British aviation innovation is a bad thing!