The Federal Aviation Administration is looking to develop futuristic aircrafts that can fly on their own.
The US Federal Aviation Administration is undertaking a research project to explore the possibilities of pilotless commercial flights. The project is part of its NextGen initiative which is aimed at modernizing the country’s flight infrastructure. For this project, the FAA has partnered with Insitu, an independent Boeing subsidiary which has offered two of its ScanEagle drones for testing in a restricted airspace.
Currently, unmanned aircraft are cleared to fly on a case-by-case basis. For the FAA to introduce commercial pilotless aircrafts, it will have to study how to integrate them within existing air traffic control systems. There are several challenges lying ahead of them: for one, no technology that can compare with the spatial awareness of an on-board pilot exists yet. The danger of operating in the same lanes as manned flights in commercial airports is another challenge they’ll have to face. Along with these, FAA will have to address the concerns of the Government Accountability Office which last year released a report on the dangers of introducing unmanned aircrafts into commercial aviation.