How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby phreakf4 on Fri 29 Jun 2018, 8:59 pm

Verelli, I think you have a little too much faith in IT. The technology you espouse has been promised for (literally) decades but seems to be not much closer now other than in very controlled laboratory conditions. One need only look at the recent failures of "autonomous" road vehicles (or indeed the recent TSB fiasco and numerous other examples of disastrous IT "upgrades") to see that. I recall being told by "experts" in the 1960s and 1970s that "Work will no longer exist by the year 2000; all the work will be done by machines....."


Similarly we have been promised "staggering" advances in battery energy density which have, so far, not appeared in anything more than theory. Also as has been stated by a previous poster, in the military application of such technology the moral implications of delegating responsibility for a "kill" order to an AI are a very murky area.

Lastly, without a truly effective and efficient IT system in place it is obvious that the kind of "personal air transport" (translation "flying car") which you suggest is coming would result in casualty rates which would make today's traffic look positively benign. Besides, the reason there are relatively few young pilots is because most younger people have more pressing things on which to spend their hard-earned income.
nothing is confirmed at a show until it's u/c hits the tarmac or it's running in for it's display.....
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phreakf4

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby starbuck on Fri 29 Jun 2018, 9:20 pm

verreli wrote:
As for airspace. It will change. We need controlled airspace now because of the fallibility of humans. As numbers increase a traditional air traffic control system would be unable to cope, hence the need for AI. Rules would still exist though. I think something like the quadrant rule will be formalised. All this thinking still needs to be done although NASA are already taking the first steps.

I'm unsure if the UK will lead this change. If I was a betting man I'd say we won't. Civil servants have a vested interest in obstructing and frustrating change but the countries with vision will roll it out and there will come a point in the future where the UK will inevitably follow. I hope the UK has more vision.


I believe this could be the biggest obstruction to non-piloted aircraft, getting every nation on board with one agreed technology and universal system and a set of agreed rules as to how it is used. As you say I cannot see the UK leading this but then again I can't see anybody else leading and every other nation happy to follow.
starbuck

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby verreli on Fri 29 Jun 2018, 9:30 pm

phreakf4 wrote:Verelli, I think you have a little too much faith in IT. The technology you espouse has been promised for (literally) decades but seems to be not much closer now other than in very controlled laboratory conditions. One need only look at the recent failures of "autonomous" road vehicles (or indeed the recent TSB fiasco and numerous other examples of disastrous IT "upgrades") to see that. I recall being told by "experts" in the 1960s and 1970s that "Work will no longer exist by the year 2000; all the work will be done by machines....."


Similarly we have been promised "staggering" advances in battery energy density which have, so far, not appeared in anything more than theory. Also as has been stated by a previous poster, in the military application of such technology the moral implications of delegating responsibility for a "kill" order to an AI are a very murky area.

Lastly, without a truly effective and efficient IT system in place it is obvious that the kind of "personal air transport" (translation "flying car") which you suggest is coming would result in casualty rates which would make today's traffic look positively benign. Besides, the reason there are relatively few young pilots is because most younger people have more pressing things on which to spend their hard-earned income.


Thanks for you comments. You make some good points but let me address them.

First AI. If you are in any doubt about the potential for deep machine learning AI look at what Boston Dynamics are doing. In a very short space of time their robotics have progressed from laughable to impressive. There are plenty of other examples too. For example, an AI system learnt a new game and beat a human master in a few days. This is the very beginning of this technology but with the rate of progress it will have real world applications in the not too distant future. As for experts, I don't put much faith in them. What I do put faith in is evidence and fact.

As for the cars, I'm not sure they are using deep learning AI yet. I believe the architecture in Tesla cars is capable of it for future upgrades though. Also, I read that BMW had installed recording devices in their cars so they could gather real world driving data to teach their future AI system. Forget the scare stories, all technology goes through teething stages.

Next Batteries. A lead acid battery has an energy density of 128 Wh/ Kg. The batteries in Tesla cars are 209 Wh/Kg. The technology bought by Dyson is demonstrating 400 Wh/Kg and the technology everyone is putting billions of research money into is Lithium air which has a theoretical potential of 1300 Wh/Kg. This is less than 10 years away from becoming commercial judging by the demos I have seen.

Military application. If you read my post I suggested there would still be a human authorisation to fire. A bit like a human pilot being cleared to fire only this would be done more efficiently. We can all wish for it not to happen for some moral reason but I guarantee it will. The reason is that without an international agreement, all military powers will be rushing to develop this first to prevent them falling behind, such is the advantage it will give.

I resisted in calling it a flying car because that gives the impression the vehicle will fly in the air and drive on the road. I don't think that will be the case and I laugh at all the attempts to do just that. Some of the designs you see in the press are also laughable for a variety of reasons, noise, safety, practicality, etc. There are some credible designs out there though and they are well funded. The potential market is huge, globally well in excess of $1tn, and just like the dot com boom, there will be a gold rush to develop technology for this too.
verreli

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby verreli on Fri 29 Jun 2018, 9:44 pm

starbuck wrote:
verreli wrote:
As for airspace. It will change. We need controlled airspace now because of the fallibility of humans. As numbers increase a traditional air traffic control system would be unable to cope, hence the need for AI. Rules would still exist though. I think something like the quadrant rule will be formalised. All this thinking still needs to be done although NASA are already taking the first steps.

I'm unsure if the UK will lead this change. If I was a betting man I'd say we won't. Civil servants have a vested interest in obstructing and frustrating change but the countries with vision will roll it out and there will come a point in the future where the UK will inevitably follow. I hope the UK has more vision.


I believe this could be the biggest obstruction to non-piloted aircraft, getting every nation on board with one agreed technology and universal system and a set of agreed rules as to how it is used. As you say I cannot see the UK leading this but then again I can't see anybody else leading and every other nation happy to follow.


It will be interesting to observe how this progresses. Big changes will be needed and established players don't like their territory challenged.

The UK CAA will be aligned with EASA and I suspect they will be broadly similar but not the same as the FAA. Just like airframe regulation. This adds no value, just cost but it's a way for everyone to take a slice of the money pie. The regulators will be driven by the money men who hold the strings of power, even if they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the party. The big markets will be China and India and it will be interesting to see how they align with others. They won't want to be dominated by Western companies.
verreli

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby Berf on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 6:55 am

verreli wrote:

If you look into the sky right now how many aircraft do you see? I'm guessing very few unless you live close to an airport. Now imagine a sky with 100, all travelling to different destinations, and repeat that all over the country. The airspace will be uncontrolled in the sense that ATC aren't giving vectors but will be defined as to what you can do within that airspace with ever greater restriction as numbers dictate.


But yesterday NATS handled over 8,000 flights - there are already hundreds of aircraft in the skies. While the ATC system needs to increase capacity and there are many projects currently doing that - there is still enormous capacity in the sky that will never be used. Commercial traffic does not want to use airspace that most leisure pilots use. Flights will not grow so much that the sky will be filled with aircraft even with drones. Right now there is a simple capacity limiter - runways. It has taken 50 years to get another at Heathrow, Gatwick is pretty full, Manchester has not reached the number of flights it was handling years ago even with a second runway, GA airfields are being reduced not increased. Drones have massive potential for lots of applications but they are limited in range, and what they can carry and where they can land. Widespread mass drone delivery is not going to happen.

BTW - the CAA is already in line with EASA and will remain so. That has meant the CAA has cost less than it would have done not more. As for the FAA - it has a duty to promote aviation which can also be at odds with the role as a regulator. It is both regulator and provider of ATC services which is not looked upon well in other countries (the regulator is seperated from the provider (s) in an increasing number of countries). While in the future I agree with you that a lot of the technology will make things possible it is another matter as to whether the human of the future believes it desirable and 'self enforces' it on itself.
Berf

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby verreli on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 10:15 am

Berf wrote:
But yesterday NATS handled over 8,000 flights - there are already hundreds of aircraft in the skies. While the ATC system needs to increase capacity and there are many projects currently doing that - there is still enormous capacity in the sky that will never be used. Commercial traffic does not want to use airspace that most leisure pilots use. Flights will not grow so much that the sky will be filled with aircraft even with drones. Right now there is a simple capacity limiter - runways. It has taken 50 years to get another at Heathrow, Gatwick is pretty full, Manchester has not reached the number of flights it was handling years ago even with a second runway, GA airfields are being reduced not increased. Drones have massive potential for lots of applications but they are limited in range, and what they can carry and where they can land. Widespread mass drone delivery is not going to happen.

BTW - the CAA is already in line with EASA and will remain so. That has meant the CAA has cost less than it would have done not more. As for the FAA - it has a duty to promote aviation which can also be at odds with the role as a regulator. It is both regulator and provider of ATC services which is not looked upon well in other countries (the regulator is seperated from the provider (s) in an increasing number of countries). While in the future I agree with you that a lot of the technology will make things possible it is another matter as to whether the human of the future believes it desirable and 'self enforces' it on itself.


What I'm saying is that I calculated a potential need for over 3 million journeys of 50-200 miles a day in the UK. Could NATS cope with that number? The airlines will always use the airways and will be controlled, even if they become fully automated. Capacity of this sector will increase but not by much, likely proportion to a little more than regional population growth. If there were large numbers of aircraft in the sky, radar would become less effective to the point of being useless and you'd need an alternative way of identifying aircraft location and vectors - hence Mode S being introduced.

The additional aircraft I'm talking about won't need runways but will need government to change planning laws to allow the creation of landing areas in every city, town and village. Perhaps on brown field land, perhaps in fields, on top of existing car parks or maybe dedicated structures built over roads. Electric VTOL does have limited range at present but re-read the energy density figures above. If it's capable of 20-40 miles today and lithium air comes along in the next 10 years, you are now talking about 100-200 mile range. Exactly the sweet spot for this technology.

It will be interesting to see how your last comment pans out. Let me put it this way. If my hypothesis about car evolution is correct and the children born today do not get a drivers license and instead use Uber equivalent services. They need to travel to family located 150 miles away. They can opt to use dedicated ground transport taking them 2hr30 or a mix of ground and air transport for a slightly higher price but only take 1hr. What do you think they'd choose?
verreli

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby Berf on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 11:38 am

verreli wrote:What I'm saying is that I calculated a potential need for over 3 million journeys of 50-200 miles a day in the UK. Could NATS cope with that number? The airlines will always use the airways and will be controlled, even if they become fully automated. Capacity of this sector will increase but not by much, likely proportion to a little more than regional population growth. If there were large numbers of aircraft in the sky, radar would become less effective to the point of being useless and you'd need an alternative way of identifying aircraft location and vectors - hence Mode S being introduced.

The additional aircraft I'm talking about won't need runways but will need government to change planning laws to allow the creation of landing areas in every city, town and village. Perhaps on brown field land, perhaps in fields, on top of existing car parks or maybe dedicated structures built over roads. Electric VTOL does have limited range at present but re-read the energy density figures above. If it's capable of 20-40 miles today and lithium air comes along in the next 10 years, you are now talking about 100-200 mile range. Exactly the sweet spot for this technology.

It will be interesting to see how your last comment pans out. Let me put it this way. If my hypothesis about car evolution is correct and the children born today do not get a drivers license and instead use Uber equivalent services. They need to travel to family located 150 miles away. They can opt to use dedicated ground transport taking them 2hr30 or a mix of ground and air transport for a slightly higher price but only take 1hr. What do you think they'd choose?



Well NATS handled 2.4 million flights last year so 3m with newer technology already in development and rearrangement of UK airspace is not out of reach. In the future there won't be airways as such and you are already behind the times as space-based ADS-B will be in use. The future use of radar coverage will be reduced. That's all happening now or in the next few years.

As for your thinking on not needing runways - fun sci fi but it won't happen. As I have said there may be certain low level corridors linking points with aerial vehicles of limited capacity but IMHO there are too many other variables for it to be as widespread as you indicate.
Berf

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby verreli on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 12:43 pm

Berf wrote:Well NATS handled 2.4 million flights last year so 3m with newer technology already in development and rearrangement of UK airspace is not out of reach. In the future there won't be airways as such and you are already behind the times as space-based ADS-B will be in use. The future use of radar coverage will be reduced. That's all happening now or in the next few years.

As for your thinking on not needing runways - fun sci fi but it won't happen. As I have said there may be certain low level corridors linking points with aerial vehicles of limited capacity but IMHO there are too many other variables for it to be as widespread as you indicate.


I'm unsure what points you're making. Lets say your 3m annual flight handling is correct. Lets compare like with like. Could NATS handle 1.1bn flights per annum? That's the first I've heard about the abolishment of airways. Do you have a source? Mode S is ADS-B and is what's currently used. It has only recently been mandated so how is that behind the times?

There are many credible companies developing products that don't require runways. There are plenty of fruit loops too. I may be one. Airbus is pretty credible and they have flown an early prototype - Vahana for this market. Can you quantify what you think the barriers to the market would be?

https://vahana.aero/ On the site there's an excellent video of their test flight. Again, no pilot required, just a team of flight test engineers.
verreli

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby cg_341 on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 1:20 pm

verreli wrote:That's the first I've heard about the abolishment of airways.

We've had direct route airspace in the Scottish FIR since 2015. See here: https://www.nats.aero/news/airlines-cho ... ce-change/

Free Route Airspace exists over Ireland and some of northern Europe, with the plan being that NATS will start to roll it out across the UK - it was due to start in 2017 but I think it's now been delayed to 2019?

See infomation at http://borealis.aero/FRA.26.aspx also.
cg_341

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby verreli on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 1:28 pm

cg_341 wrote:We've had direct route airspace in the Scottish FIR since 2015. See here: https://www.nats.aero/news/airlines-cho ... ce-change/


Thanks for that. Looks like I've got some reading to do.
verreli

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby Berf on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 2:09 pm

There's a lot of information about - take a look at the Eurocontrol website and the SESAR website.

Mode S is not ADS-B however, some Mode S transponders are ADS-B capable.

Your statement does not convince me

They can opt to use dedicated ground transport taking them 2hr30 or a mix of ground and air transport for a slightly higher price but only take 1hr.

Really? so I want to visit the mother in law and I have to get a 'vehicle' to my local landing site, get the flight which is specifically laid on just for me at the time I want it, arrive at the tiny village's landing strip which just happens to have an autonomous vehicle waiting for me and do the whole lot in reverse? That's going to be cheaper than my electric solar powered autonomous vehicle from my drive to the mother in laws? Anyway we can agree to disagree.

Barriers to the market - well that's people. They don't want a landing strip, site whatever. They don't want drones or other vehicles overhead. They don't want an Amazon warehouse up the road to feed drones to deliver parcels when a white van would have done and so on and so on. I do not disagree or argue about the possibility of technology but I do question whether because it can de done it desirable for it to be done. Only the humans of the future will answer that whatever either of us think.
Berf

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby verreli on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 3:11 pm

Berf wrote:Your statement does not convince me

They can opt to use dedicated ground transport taking them 2hr30 or a mix of ground and air transport for a slightly higher price but only take 1hr.

Really? so I want to visit the mother in law and I have to get a 'vehicle' to my local landing site, get the flight which is specifically laid on just for me at the time I want it, arrive at the tiny village's landing strip which just happens to have an autonomous vehicle waiting for me and do the whole lot in reverse? That's going to be cheaper than my electric solar powered autonomous vehicle from my drive to the mother in laws? Anyway we can agree to disagree.

Barriers to the market - well that's people. They don't want a landing strip, site whatever. They don't want drones or other vehicles overhead. They don't want an Amazon warehouse up the road to feed drones to deliver parcels when a white van would have done and so on and so on. I do not disagree or argue about the possibility of technology but I do question whether because it can de done it desirable for it to be done. Only the humans of the future will answer that whatever either of us think.


Yes; I'm saying there will be an on-demand service where you will, via a smart phone, order a transport service. Within a minute of placing the order there will be a vehicle outside your door which will pick you up and drop you off at your destination. Without exiting the passenger compartment you will be transported via ground and in the air in a comfort level that you've paid for. i.e everything from utility to luxury.

Your concerns are not unique. In fact they are quite common. The service Amazon is proposing has been widely reported but I'm not sure the final solution will be the one being reported. What is clear is that it's being driven by consumers as the high street changes. People want cheap goods which is why they use Amazon but they want them now which is where the high street has an advantage. My guess is that Amazon will have small ground transport final delivery pods serviced from a network of regional air delivery platforms from central automated warehouses.

The one area I thought you would mention and where much effort is being focussed is noise. Not just amplitude but frequency, quality and perception. This, to me, is the biggest barrier to public acceptance rather than anything technical. Safety, perhaps surprisingly is low on the list of concerns with redundancy, fail safes and protocols all designed in from first principals.

BTW Thanks for posting. I value your comments.
verreli

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby Berf on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 5:36 pm

verreli wrote: Safety, perhaps surprisingly is low on the list of concerns with redundancy, fail safes and protocols all designed in from first principals.

BTW Thanks for posting. I value your comments.



Safety is and is is not a concern. By that I mean when you ask people (and I have been involved with that) they assume that safety is a given. Again with noise, people have said noise is the biggest issue but when asked - well what about the safety aspect - they say - well of course I just assumed....

Increasingly with drones it is privacy that is the main issue. People assume they all have cameras but even if they do not they are are invasion of the person's space or area.
Berf

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby verreli on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 6:39 pm

Berf wrote:Safety is and is is not a concern. By that I mean when you ask people (and I have been involved with that) they assume that safety is a given. Again with noise, people have said noise is the biggest issue but when asked - well what about the safety aspect - they say - well of course I just assumed....

Increasingly with drones it is privacy that is the main issue. People assume they all have cameras but even if they do not they are are invasion of the person's space or area.


Not for the first time you make some good points.

Safety is obviously a concern for people and that includes me. Take for example the 787. I fly quite often on the airlines (as a passenger) and actively avoid the 787. This was due to the introduction of several new technologies (ironically including lithium batteries) which theoretically are safe and have passed certification but they had a number of incidents in the early days. Now it's been flying a few years and its safety record is being proven, my position is changing. Maybe next year I'll even give it a go. I see future transport in the same way. Many will be sceptical but a few will be brave enough to be the initial adopters. The regulation of these new types will be at least as stringent as for existing aircraft so in time the safety record will be proven and more people will adopt the new methods. You just need to give people a genuine benefit. That's why, from a design / business perspective, I said safety wasn't a concern.

Another good point about privacy. I had a drone hovering not far from me the other day and it crossed my mind, 'what's he looking at'. It didn't make me take any action though and these new aircraft won't be flying around at a few hundred feet or hovering like a Police helicopter so I don't see that as a barrier. Equally for the drone deliveries, I just don't see the practicality of delivering direct into peoples garden where the privacy concerns would be real.
verreli

Re: How much longer for piloted aircraft?

Postby Berf on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 8:07 pm

verreli wrote:
Berf wrote:Safety is and is is not a concern. By that I mean when you ask people (and I have been involved with that) they assume that safety is a given. Again with noise, people have said noise is the biggest issue but when asked - well what about the safety aspect - they say - well of course I just assumed....

Increasingly with drones it is privacy that is the main issue. People assume they all have cameras but even if they do not they are are invasion of the person's space or area.


Not for the first time you make some good points.

Safety is obviously a concern for people and that includes me. Take for example the 787. I fly quite often on the airlines (as a passenger) and actively avoid the 787. This was due to the introduction of several new technologies (ironically including lithium batteries) which theoretically are safe and have passed certification but they had a number of incidents in the early days. Now it's been flying a few years and its safety record is being proven, my position is changing. Maybe next year I'll even give it a go. I see future transport in the same way. Many will be sceptical but a few will be brave enough to be the initial adopters. The regulation of these new types will be at least as stringent as for existing aircraft so in time the safety record will be proven and more people will adopt the new methods. You just need to give people a genuine benefit. That's why, from a design / business perspective, I said safety wasn't a concern.

Another good point about privacy. I had a drone hovering not far from me the other day and it crossed my mind, 'what's he looking at'. It didn't make me take any action though and these new aircraft won't be flying around at a few hundred feet or hovering like a Police helicopter so I don't see that as a barrier. Equally for the drone deliveries, I just don't see the practicality of delivering direct into peoples garden where the privacy concerns would be real.



Ha... just because you put it in a steel case does not make the battery safer! Crazy solution but it saved Boeing money in redesign and retrofit - thanks FAA. Take a look at United incident last November at Charles de Gaulle - should put you off for a few more years !
Berf

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