篮球竞彩nba www.xvrnl.com Would you fly in a pilotless airliner?
Have you ever had a panic attack in mid-flight? Those that have will tell you it’s not fun. And there are plenty of reasons that make people panic. Some of them – irrationally so – fixate on the state of the pilot. Are they tired? Stressed? Paying enough attention?
Would these people feel any better if we could get rid of pilots altogether?
The technology already seems to be there – drones are not a particularly new invention. Armies use drones the size of aeroplanes in war zones, where they are controlled remotely or loiter flying a pattern. Even helicopters can be pilotless, like the K-MAX, which is as big as a standard helicopter, and delivers aid supplies with stunning precision to dangerous locations.
無人駕駛所需技術已經成熟——無人機已經在各個領域大行其道。軍方在戰爭中使用與標準飛機相同大小的無人機，這些無人機或是受到遠程操控，或是沿固定航線自動巡航。甚至直升機也已實現了無人化，例如采用標準直升機尺寸的 K-MAX 無人直升機就能以難以置信的精確度向危險區域運送補給。
Aeroplane accidents are rare today, but when they happen, they are getting harder and harder to solve, says Tim Robinson, editor-in-chief of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s magazine Aerospace. That’s why investigations often focus on ‘human factors’, identifying psychological and physiological issues as a probable cause.
“So with pilots relying on autopilots for 95% of today's flights, the argument goes, why not make the final 5% – take-off and landing – automated?” says Robinson. “Computers fly ultra-precise, repeatable trajectories, do not fly drunk, do not get tired, do not get distracted and so the thinking goes could be safer than human pilots in the future.”
He says that in a debate at the society earlier this year, with pilots, engineers, scientists and airline representatives debating autonomous planes, the motion ‘there will be no need for pilots in 40 years’ was carried by approximately 60 votes to 40.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, Chinese company Ehang unveiled the first-ever passenger drone, the electric-powered Ehang 184. The quadrocopter can fit one person with a small backpack, and even has air conditioning and a light. To fly, the passenger needs to set up a flight plan, click ‘take off’ and ‘land’ on a tablet, and the computer does the rest. With its propellers folded, the 184 takes up as much room as a small car.
There are other similar efforts to develop personal air transport systems. In the US, a twin-propeller experimental plane with two passenger seats and two cockpit seats was flight-tested last year. Made by Aurora Flight Sciences Corp and called the Centaur, it can be operated by pilots from the cockpit or from the ground – and during the test, it successfully flew with no one on board.
Airbus Group is working on Vahana, an autonomous ‘flying car’ for passengers or cargo, while in Germany the Volocopter project hopes to build a ‘scaled-up’ drone that can carry one or two people. Another European endeavour, myCopter, looked into the kind of technologies that would be needed to bring personal transportation into the air. Researchers who took part in the project, from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, are still trying to figure out how to make it easier to control, says Heinrich Bülthoff, the managing director of the institute. “We try to make flying a helicopter as easy as driving a car with very little training,” he says.
空客集團正在研制“Vahana”，一架可同時用于客運和貨運的“飛行汽車”。德國“Volocopter”計劃希望制造一架能夠搭載1-2名乘客的全尺寸無人機。另一個開拓者歐洲 myCopter 公司正在研究個人空中交通技術。蒂賓根(Tübingen)的馬克斯·普朗克生物控制論研究院(Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics)的科學家參與了這一項目。該研究院院長海因里希·布特霍夫(Heinrich Bülthoff)說，他們的任務是提高飛機操控的便利性。“我們的目標是，讓駕駛直升機和駕駛汽車一樣簡便，僅需很短時間的培訓即可。”