Boeing may be in the commercial airplane business, but it’s betting on a future without airplane pilots. The company is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences, which builds drones and autonomous aircraft and will help Boeing pave the way for that Jetsons-inspired future that we all dream of.
A joint press release, reported by Seattle’s King5 News, says that Aurora will help Boeing develop “long-endurance aircraft, robotic copilots, and autonomous electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.” Aurora has a great deal of experience with those vertical take-off vehicles, as they have been developing an autonomous military aircraft called a LightningStrike XV-24A that is capable of the vertical take-off and landing.
Once the acquisition goes through, Aurora will continue to operate as its own independent subsidiary of Boeing, per the press release, and will continue its work on designing and producing autonomous aircraft.
Boeing is not alone in this view of a future without pilots, as TechCrunch reports , AirBus will begin testing its first electric flying cars next year.