Airbus recently confirmed the successful launch of its first self-driving flight last month. The test was carried out on an Airbus A350-1000 XWB, taking off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France.
Test pilots said all they needed to do was wait and let the plane drive itself. They also take part in repairs or control as needed, especially when pointing the nose up into the sky.
Yann Beaufils, Airbus test pilot shared: “The aircraft started moving and accelerated automatically. The autopilot system maintained the aircraft moving in the center of the runway with the exact rotation speed as on the system. The nose of the aircraft began to rise automatically … and seconds later we were in the air. “
The photos released by Airbus show that Beaufils’ hand seems to be hovering as the plane heads towards the sky. He is not exactly flying the plane, but observing and handling when necessary. Airbus said the A350-1000 XWB made a total of eight automatic takeoffs in a period of four and a half hours.
In order to do this, Airbus aircraft had to be equipped with a new image recognition system with the help of surveillance cameras.
The Airbus A350 has 3 cameras and is installed in place of pilots and passengers. The camera is usually located at the tail, abdomen and near the landing gear in front of the aircraft. Similar to sensors on self-driving cars, the camera will help the aircraft identify the runway position to keep it in line when taking off.
Test pilots said the aby machine automatically made adjustments to avoid foreign objects on the runway without the aid of human help.
The success of the self-piloting aircraft test opens up a better opportunity for Airbus’ future self-driving taxi project. The airline also said that Airbus will not rush in the new era of self-driving aircraft, but will try to explore technologies and improve them better.
By adopting in-flight self-driving technology, Airbus is confident that pilots can focus more on flight management and decision-making instead of operating the aircraft.
Refer to BusinessInsider