Hold Steering Wheel! Autopilots and Autonomous Driving.

Bernd Sieker

Hold Steering Wheel! Differences in Automation Between Aircraft and Road Vehicles

For decades, airliners and also small aircraft have been flying large portions of their flight, including landing, on autopilot. So why is it so hard to get autonomous driving "on the road"? I will briefly talk about aviation and aviation safety, the role of automation in commercial aviation, its benefits, but also its pitfalls and dangers, and compare it to technology in road cars, from simple driver-assist functions up to full Level-5 autonomy (door-to-door without any human intervention or supervision). There are things that are fundamentally different between flying an aircraft and driving a car, most notably the environment, but also levels of training and proficiency, maintenance as well as questions of ethics and liability.