OK, it’s a South Korean robot flying a plane — on a flight simulator.
And later, it’s a robot flying a … toy plane.
However, this Reuters video does show the effect of actually putting a humanoid robot in a cockpit, even if it’s a virtual flight deck.
And it might remind a few folks of Otto Pilot, the inflatable autopilot from “Aeroplane!” — the disaster movie spoof from the 1980s.
Actually, it’s a bit strange that we would need to see a robot with arms, legs, and head operating the controls of a plane. Robots already routinely fly planes, they just don’t look like robots. They look like computers, and they’re built into the aircraft’s control technology.
However, the South Korean robot — called “PIBOT” (Get it?) — isn’t designed to be a humanoid autopilot. It’s intended to fly aircraft, planes and helicopters, that we designed for humans to operate. PIBOT is reverse-engineered from a human aircraft interface, rather than integrated with it.
As the Reuters report notes, PIBOT’s creators hope that a game-time-ready version of the robot will be able to fly planes and helicopters into environments too dangerous for human pilots.
The idea is that you grab your PIBOT and put him at the controls if your puny human pilots have reservations about flying over a nuclear reactor that’s melting down.
Maybe PIBOT doesn’t look all that impressive now. But give him some time. He certainly looks more competent than Otto Pilot.
Here’s the entire Reuters video:
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