White Paper on Autonomy in Aviation
ASTM International’s autonomy design and operations in aviation administrative committee (AC377) has published a new white paper titled, “Roles and Responsibilities for Operational Control in the Age of Increasingly Autonomous Flight.”
This white paper discusses the shifting landscape of automation and autonomy in aviation, focusing on the role of aircraft operators, pilots, and other stakeholders in ensuring accountability.
In light of emerging technologies and systems, this paper serves as part of a larger reassessment of these various roles. It explores the current responsibilities of the operator (i.e., the entity responsible for initiating, conducting, and terminating a flight) and the impact of increasingly autonomous systems on the aviation industry. It also addresses the potential for shared responsibility and accountability between operators, original equipment manufacturers, and other stakeholders as the nature of aircraft operation changes.
“The aviation community is looking to adopt technologies that support increased automation and autonomy,” said Dr. Stephen Cook, Northrop Grumman fellow for airworthiness and chair of AC377. “This whitepaper asks important questions regarding established roles and responsibilities for operational control and offers helpful recommendations on how to safely move forward together.”
Following this exploration, the paper not only recommends that the aviation industry reassess roles and responsibilities, but that it address several other issues. These include pilot command authority, current certification processes, and the development of a net risk assessment framework to manage increased automation.