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February 15, 2016 AT 5:00 am

Plane That Flies Itself To The Airport And Lands In An Emergency

A new plane from Germany that will land itself if the pilot is incapacitated. via wired

It sounds fanciful, but the German firm, which manufactures small single- and twin-engine aircraft, recently made a successful landing using technology it’s spent a few years developing. Diamond calls it an “electronic parachute,” though it’s actually an advanced autopilot, and it follows a trend we’re seeing in cars, where automakers are packing their cars with more active safety systems to minimize the risk of a crash and increase the odds of surviving one unscathed.

Instead of letting the plane float gently to the ground and land wherever, the system guides the plane to a runway. Company CEO Christian Dries says the underlying navigation system is sophisticated enough to guide the plane not just to the nearest airport—which might be a remote, unattended airfield—but to a staffed airport, with people who can help.

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