Planes can already fly themselves

auto“Planes can already fly themselves,” said Mary “Missy” Cummings, a former Air Force pilot, an engineering professor and director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University.

“Pilots only spend 3 minutes per flight flying a plane anyway, and they don’t really need to do that,” she said. About 80% of plane crashes are caused by human error, she adds.

The U.S. military already flies Global Hawk drones, which are nearly the size of a the widely-used Boeing 737 passenger jets. And military data shows that drone flights crash less often than piloted flights, Cummings said.

But so far businesses working on drones are looking only at non-passenger uses, like making deliveries or taking aerial pictures.  More

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