Fully autonomous passenger planes are inching closer to takeoff

February 04, 2023

The world's biggest commercial aircraft makers seem increasingly convinced that autonomous passenger flight is a question of when, not if. Boeing rival Airbus, meanwhile, has been testing a suite of advanced autonomous flight systems it's calling DragonFly. Xwing recently landed a contract to work alongside the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA and others to research how to best integrate autonomous aircraft into complex airspace. The intrigue: Nobody's suggesting human pilots will entirely disappear from passenger aircraft flight decks anytime soon. The bottom line: Solving the technological hurdles of autonomous flight is one thing.