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Thank the robots for a modern transportation industry

Written by

Neil Martin

Neil Martin

The slightly weird thing is, I’m all for self-driving cars, but when it comes to the thought of pilotless planes, I go weak at the knees.

Driving cars used to be fun. Back in the day, jumping into a nice motor, giving it some stick along comparatively empty roads and enjoying the sense of adventure, was good honest fun.

Nowadays, driving in some countries is as much fun as being waterboarded. Take the ‘smart’ M1 which runs down the spine of the UK, from London to Leeds. Have you tried it recently? Stay on the for its complete length and you’ll be reduced to a shaking zombie. Part car park, part fairground ride, in certain sections you’ll be fined the national debt of Zimbabwe if you go above 50mph, or go too slow, and you’ll be rammed from behind by some dozing lorry driver. If we all had automated cars, you could sit back and let the car take the strain. You could sleep, work on your novel, or take up oil painting, safe in the knowledge that a computer is driving. 

For me, that theory does not extend to planes. I like a fleshy captain on board. He/she/them (I don’t mind which) should be dressed in a blue uniform and inspire confidence with clean, healthy good looks and a wide smile. Okay, let the computer take charge on the long boring bit, but when it comes to take off and landing, I want humans at the controls, not a computer which might have a glitch. 

I remember how horrified I was when I realised that Airbus were big fans of fly-by-wire technology, where Boeing was still using metal levers and cogs to work their controls. Boeing is changing now, but at the time I learnt that, no way did I trust the fly-by-wire stuff.

So yes, bonkers, but there you go, figure that out. 



Thank the robots for a modern transportation industry image