It might not be long from now to see robots as the future pilots of aircraft. South Korean researchers from KASIT have designed a tiny low-cost humanoid that can satisfy the various guidelines specified in the flying handbook for federal Aviation Administration.
The Pibot is able to complete a take-off, a short flight and a landing in a flight simulator. Bringing the plane in to approach the runway – the final and the most complicated step – still requires human assistance, but the researchers hope this too will be mastered soon.
The 39.7 cm tall robot was presented at IROS Chicago this week, according to science magazine IEEE Spectrum. The team programmed the robot to receive visual input and data about GPS location, airspeed, velocity, roll, yaw and other flight details to get better control of an airplane. But a part of the operation is achieved by the robot’s webcam seeing the simulation of the ground and the sky – and reacting accordingly.
During the entire operation, the Pibot receives no external inputs and takes all the decisions by itself. Watch the little dude in action in the video below.
Although the robot won’t be completely replacing human pilots anytime soon, the researchers hope that one day it will be advanced enough to fulfill government guidelines for flying real aircraft.