Friday, March 25, 2011

Air traffic controllers

Regarding the news where a couple of jets had to land without instructions from air traffic control, 'cause the controller was sleeping: why are there even humans in the loop? Coordinating the airspace and runway-use of mostly auto-piloted airplanes seems like a task that software is well-suited for. Maybe we need people on radios for those emergency situations that can't be programmed for effectively, but it seems like the default option should be for the tower's computer to communicate instructions silently to the plane's computer, regardless of whether either's operator is sleeping.