Pilotless plane, developed by BAE Systems. Engineers at BAE Systems have already launched a series of test flights in which the high-tech prototype flies by itself using computers while being monitored by operators sitting 15,000ft below it.
BAE, which hopes it can open the door to unmanned flights in commercial travel, has transformed a small aircraft that normally holds 16 people into a flying test room. Instead of a pilot and co-pilot, the Jetstream 31 is controlled by a sophisticated infra-red camera known as the ‘electronic eye’ in the cockpit.
Aided by seven cameras on the plane’s undercarriage, the system will allow the aircraft to undertake emergency landings by finding suitable stretches of land. It can also detect different cloud types, allowing the plane to fly around poor weather conditions.
It is hoped the £400,000 test programme proves that larger unmanned craft can travel safely in open airspace alongside traditional planes.Read more