That Pilot in the Cockpit May Someday Be a Robot

MANASSAS, Va. (AP) — Government and industry officials say they are collaborating on an effort to replace the second human pilot in two-person flight crews with robot co-pilots that never tire, get bored, or feel stressed out.

The program is known as Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System, or ALIAS. It’s funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and run by Aurora Flight Sciences, a contractor.

The program’s leaders say they even envision a day when planes and helicopters, large and small, will fly people and cargo without any human pilot on board. Personal robot planes may become a common mode of travel. Consider it the aviation equivalent of the self-driving car.

A robot pilot flew a single-engine Cessna Caravan during a demonstration Monday at a small airport on the outskirts of Washington.

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