Feb 13, 2024

Why AI can’t replace air traffic controllers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI, security

An air traffic controller’s routine can be disrupted by an aircraft that requires special handling. This could range from an emergency to priority handling of medical flights or Air Force One. Controllers are given the responsibility and the flexibility to adapt how they manage their airspace.

The requirements for the front line of air traffic control are a poor match for AI’s capabilities. People expect air traffic to continue to be the safest complex, high-technology system ever. It achieves this standard by adhering to procedures when practical, which is something AI can do, and by adapting and exercising good judgment whenever something unplanned occurs or a new operation is implemented – a notable weakness of today’s AI.

Indeed, it is when conditions are the worst – when controllers figure out how to handle aircraft with severe problems, airport crises or widespread airspace closures due to security concerns or infrastructure failures – that controllers’ contributions to safety are the greatest.

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