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Uses of Autopilots

9/19/2012 7:47:41 AM | by Anonymous


Autopilot systems are mechanical, hydraulic or electrical systems that have the ability to guide a vehicle without any assistance from a human. Commonly used to refer to aircrafts, autopilots can also be used for land transport vehicles, self-steering gear for boats and auto guidance for missiles and aircraft. Sometimes also referred to as “George”, a key contributor to the development of autopilot systems, modern versions of these devices are able to receive data from Global Positioning System (GPS) which aid the operations of the device. GPS systems usually comprise of satellites that are used to determine a vehicles or aircraft’s position. When the GPS network has determined the position of the vehicle, it can guide the vehicle to its destination. In the case of aircrafts, autopilot systems not only stabilize and keep the plane flying straight, but can execute an entire flight plan with the aid of GPS.


In the case of aircrafts, autopilot systems play a very important role in the functioning of planes. Although it is not impossible to fly a plane without any autopilot systems, in today’s date with more sophisticated technology and longer flights, autopilot systems are impossible to work without. Most commercial aircrafts are usually equipped with autopilot capabilities due to their long flying hours. However, even smaller planes are incorporating autopilot systems as these systems can ensure greater safety and stability of the flight. Also, as technology advances, engineers are incorporating autopilot systems with other technologies such as flight detector and GPS as mentioned earlier to enhance the capability of autopilot systems. With flight detection capabilities, the plane would be able to detect any other aircrafts in its route and the autopilot system would be able to react to this and reroute the flight path of the aircraft in order to prevent any unfortunate event from occurring. With this technology, the safety of passengers is increased along with the more convenience for the pilots.


The need for autopilots in long distance flights has become a necessity over the years. As aircraft technology advances, planes are now able to travel longer distances since it would not be feasible for pilots to constantly pay attention to the sky for prolonged periods of time. Although it would be possible, it could put the safety of passengers at risk as pilots who operate flights that can be as long as 24 hours could suffer from fatigue due to the long hours of constant flying. It is here that the use of autopilots come in as the system would be able to take over the duties of the pilot once the aircraft is cruising at the desired altitude, allowing pilots to rest and recover so that they can take over the aircraft when required.


Autopilot systems are not only available for planes, but ships have them too. These systems on ships are often known with different names such as “Metal Mike” or “autohelmsman” which refers to the systems capability to assume the role of helmsman and steer a ship with no human intervention. Modern day cars are sometimes equipped with autopilot systems that are known as cruise control. Although in cars the cruise control system may not be able to execute the travel route, it can regulate the speed of the car using sensors which ensures safety for passengers.


Industrial machinery that has the ability to execute manufacturing processes may also sometimes be referred to as autopilots. This machinery does not require an operator to operate it and have the ability to carry out all the tasks on its own, providing more efficiency and reducing production costs. There are several other applications where autopilot systems can be used. Any device that can be instructed to execute a plan can be referred to as an autopilot system. The use of autopilots is very beneficial in today’s industry, providing several advantages to the industries it is used in.

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