Autonomous transport assistant can be found not only in cars. Airbus has launched testing of the DragonFly pilot assistance system, which can save the plane in an emergency situation.

The system can automatically change the flight direction in emergency situations. Not only can it choose the route to the best airport using factors such as airspace rules and weather, but it can also contact the air traffic control and the airline’s operations center. If the pilots are incapacitated, the plane can still land safely.

Accordingly, DragonFly can automatically land on any runway using sensors and computer vision algorithms. Pilots can even get help navigating around airports with technology that turns air traffic controllers’ clearances into helpful hints in a companion app. This can help with speed control and alert pilots to obstacles. Crews can spend more time preparing for flight.

Testing is currently limited to one A350-1000 demonstrator aircraft. It may be some time before the DragonFly reaches mass production, and regulators will need to approve its use.

However, it hints at where autonomous flight systems are headed. It can also help increase the number of flights to airports with complex landings (such as New Zealand’s Wellington Airport) and minimize taxiing delays.