Autonomous Aircraft Ready for Take Off

No pilot, no problem. 


The just-out-of-stealth company Xwing unveiled its first demo flight on Thursday. While people were on board the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, none of them were piloting the aircraft. 


The aerospace company showed off its autonomous tech from take-off to landing during multiple flights over the Bay from its hangar east of San Francisco. For each flight, two to three passengers were on board, including a back-up pilot. 



Xwing is part of NASA's Unmanned Aircraft System program, and is working with the FAA for other certifications. It plans to operate regional flights, mostly for cargo or humanitarian trips, flying up to 500 miles each trip.  


The company plans to convert planes with its system and then remote operators will supervise the flights alongside air traffic controllers. The company says an Xwing retrofitted plane is designed to take off, navigate, and land on its own.

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