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Autonomous Air Taxis Will Take Off in 2017, but Won’t Go Far

Larry Page and other entrepreneurs want to let robotic pilots whisk you away

3 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

In the future, the joke goes, airliners will each have a pilot and a dog. The dog will be there to bite the pilot if he touches the controls, and the pilot will be there to feed the dog. It’s no joke, though, when NASA scientists begin entertaining [PDF] the idea of replacing the copilot with a wideband connection to a ground controller. Who will take over the plane should the pilot become incapacitated? Nor is it a joke to carry the argument to its logical conclusion and do away with the pilot altogether.

It’s a beguiling vision. An autonomous airplane reliable enough to be trusted by passengers and air-safety regulators could save not just on salaries but also on the cost of managing the glitch-prone minuet by which well-rested flight crews are united with the planes they’re supposed to fly. That logistical problem will get harder as the pilot shortage worsens, and it will be hardest of all for short-hop air service, where the pilot-to-passenger ratio is high.

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Medal of Honor Goes to Microsensor and Systems Pioneer

The UCLA professor developed aerospace and automotive safety systems

3 min read
Photo of a man in a blue jacket in front of a brick wall.
UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

IEEE Life Fellow Asad M. Madni is the recipient of this year’s IEEE Medal of Honor. He is being recognized “for pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of innovative sensing and systems technologies, and for distinguished research leadership.”

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Video Friday: An Agile Year

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
Video Friday: An Agile Year

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, Germany
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Açores, Portugal

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.

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Rohde & Schwarz Logo
Rohde & Schwarz

In this webinar you will learn more about solutions for high test speeds and throughput as well as how to cover multiple tests with one set-up.

Speaker:

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