Toulouse - Airbus wants to develop systems that allow single-pilot flights in the cockpit.
According to Paul Eremenko, The CTO (Chief Technology Officer), the European aircraft manufacturer is working on new approaches that even allow a completely unmanned cockpit to be within reach.
"The thought is that we may be able to reduce the need for crews in our future aircraft," said Eremenko. "We are considering a one-pilot cockpit as a possible option, and some of the technologies needed to do so have also taken us to the unmanned cockpit," he continued.
In aviation, there are similar trends to those in the automotive industry, where companies invest in startups researching autonomous vehicles.
Designers such as Airbus and Boeing are embarking on a race in the development of artificial intelligence that will one day enable computers to fly aircraft completely without human control.
Designers such as Airbus and Boeing are embarking on a race in the development of artificial intelligence that will one day enable computers to fly aircraft completely without human control. But there are reservations.
After a Germanwings pilot drove an Airbus A320 with 150 people to death, it is the duty of many airlines worldwide that at least two people in the cockpit at any time of a flight.
But there is no airliner yet that is approved for flights with only one or even no pilot. "People are more anxious about such things," says Shukor Yusof, the founder of aerospace consulting firm Endau Analytics. "There are driverless cars, driverless buses, but for something that flies, that's different."
Airbus plans to set up a research center for future air travel in Shenzhen, China. Airbus will be working there on technologies that could increase the cockpit automation and help address the emerging pilot shortage in countries like China.