Airbus is offering a new system for their planes that will help avoid midair collisions. The system will rely on the autopilot to take evasive maneuvers if a collision is about to occur. The pilots dislike the system and for once I will side with them.
Pilots go through stringent training to deal with these issues. If there is a chance of collision how can anyone expect a pilot to sit back and leave his or her life and those of the passengers to the fate of a computer. You would have to be nuts. I would much rather have a pilot making these decisions than a computer. Because computers do not die. Pilots do.
Known for its pioneering use of computers and software to push the automation envelope, this time Airbus has decided to cross a new threshold in replacing pilot decisions with computer commands. For the first time, flight crews of Airbus planes will be instructed and trained to rely on autopilots in most cases to escape an impending crash with another airborne aircraft. Currently, all commercial pilots are required to instantly disconnect the autopilot when they get an alert of such an emergency, and manually put their plane into a climb or descent to avoid the other aircraft.
The change, which hasn’t been announced yet, comes after lengthy internal Airbus debates and despite skepticism from pilot groups and even some aircraft-equipment suppliers.
In spite of significant pilot opposition, the proposed shift sets the stage for broader use of computerized safety systems down the road to protect commercial planes, business jets and other aircraft from other hazards, including flying into natural or man-made obstacles.