Are robo-freighters the future
08 / 06 / 2010
SCIENTISTS at the US Federal Aviation Administration’s have started testing early prototypes of pilotless freighters.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have already been in use for several years, but this is the first time that serious work has been started on UAV freighters and subsequently passenger aircraft.
Although at least 20 years in the future, the work already has the backing of some of the larger airfreight companies.
“FedEx certainly is always interested in new technology that will help us improve service to our customers,” said spokesman Jim McCluskey. “Whether this would, or wouldn’t, I don’t know. I can’t speculate on what that technology is, and how the FAA will apply it.”
James Ray, spokesman for the US Airline Pilots Association, referring to the US Airways famous Hudson River landing last year by pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, said, “You can’t troubleshoot remotely to solve problems that may occur, such as exterior forces like the weather. Pilots have to make split-second decisions.”