It may look like a regular commercial aircraft, but this new Airbus is missing a pretty crucial feature – it’s able to fly without a pilot.
A video released by the aircraft designer shows an A350 taking off from Toulouse Airport using new technology.
The automatic takeoff technology works by using image recognition, which lets the plane “see” the centre line down the runway.
It then uses an algorithm along with CGI of the runway to analyse the takeoff procedure.
This is instead of using the instrument landing system (ILS), which pilots rely on.
In the video, two pilots are sitting in the cockpit, although they’re not supposed to touch anything.
But during takeoff, one of the men tries to use the sidestick that is needed to pull a plane up during manual takeoff.
His colleague quickly stops him by putting his hand on his arm.
This plane actually doesn’t have a pilot.Source:Supplied
The automatic takeoff technology works by using image recognition.Source:Supplied
The successful takeoff was one of eight tests that took place last month, according to Airbus, as part of their Airbus’ Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off & Landing (ATTOL) project that launched in 2018.
It paves the way for pilotless planes in the future.
Airbus test pilot Captain Yann Beaufils explained: “While completing alignment on the runway, waiting for clearance from air traffic control, we engaged the autopilot.
“We moved the throttle levers to the takeoff setting and we monitored the aircraft.
“It started to move and accelerate automatically maintaining the runway centre line at the exact rotation speed as entered in the system.
“The nose of the aircraft began to lift up automatically to take the expected takeoff pitch value, and a few seconds later we were airborne.”
Pilot-free planes are being tested by several airlines and technology companies.
Garmin are developing a new “autoland” system that would let pilots simply click a button to help the plane to land.
However, the new system would only be used in an emergency, such as if the pilot falls ill, and would direct the plane to the best airport within 320km.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
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