AI is set to revolutionise the way flights are operated and facilitated according to Boeing CTO, Greg Hyslop, who recently spoke at the EmTech conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Hyslop explained that the biggest challenge currently facing the aerospace industry is how to maintain high levels of safety when we have 10 million planes in the air rather than a few thousand.
He said: “How do we maintain the existing levels of safety with an AI-based system in the cockpit? How do you show and certify that your systems are safe to point where the flying public will say ‘Yes, I trust that’? Those are very difficult problems to solve.”
Such questions are the impetus behind Boeing’s new Aerospace and Autonomy Center at MIT, which focuses on the development of new technologies for the aerospace industry.
MIT has a reputation as the world’s leading institute for advanced technology, leading in fields such as AI and hyperloop technology.
Watch: Hyperloop Explained
With specific regard to AI, Hyslop said: “We use AI in air travel already, but it’s limited. But think again what could we do with more sensors on the airplane.
“Could we do a take-off in an environment where weather conditions mean a pilot wouldn’t be able to? With sensors, with AI, you could.”
Hyslop also said he was skeptical regarding flying automobiles, a view recently echoed by Elon Musk because they would provide too much air pollution, and that AI provides a better long-term future option.
Despite the potential of AI, Hyslop did day that it would still take time before we see it rolled out across the industry for passengers, with AI for cargo flights looking more auspicious: “For passenger travel, we don’t see it as realistic in the near term. However, for cargo travel, you could see autonomous aircraft before too long.”