astraea-flying-test-bedWould you put your life in the hands, wait a minute here, robots and artificial intelligence basically do not have any kind of hands to speak of, right? Like I was asking, would you be willing to place your life on the line by relying on an automated system to get you from point A to point B? On a railway track in a mass rapid transit system, I think most of us would be more than agreeable. On a road with a self-driving car? Not so many people have that kind of faith. If you were to take things up by another notch, that is, you will let a robot pilot fly you to your destination, then you would have the kind of faith that allows you to walk on water.


Well, just last month, a robot plane managed to carry passengers safely for a total distance of 500 miles from England to Scotland, and back again. Touted to be “the Flying Test Bed,” the plane happens to be a normal 19-seat Jetstream, which has been converted to fly autonomously. I hope this does not become a staple feature in airlines for the years to come, as having a human pilot presence around is comforting psychologically, not to mention a human might be able to pull off what AI deems as “impossible” in the event of an emergency.

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