Developing an unmanned aircraft is a complex and expensive process, and even retrofitting manned aircraft for autonomous operation can be tricky. At KAIST in South Korea, researchers are testing a humanoid robot that’s designed to operate a regular aircraft by sitting in the pilot’s seat and using the controls just like a human would. PIBOT (pilot robot) demonstrated its skills on a flight simulator at IROS 2016.
PIBOT can manage all aspects of a flight: turning the engine on, taxiing, taking off, flying, and even landing. The robot relies on input from the simulator to determine the location and state of the aircraft and lands successfully 80 percent of the time.