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Do you need a copilot? Linda is ready

Linda, an AI powered copilot, is ready to share the piloting with you. Image credit: ToLiss

In the last few weeks I have flown a Cessna 172. I started from Italy for a round the world tour, so far I have reached Iran and I have enjoyed amazing landscapes from the green hills of Lebanon, the many islands in Greece to the deserts of Saudi Arabia. All of this is pretty cheap since I am doing that on a flight simulator (X-11).

Sometimes I find other flight-sim pilots going my way and we can chat over the radio waves and comment that particular approach to a tricky airport (try the Santa Caterina in the Sinai…).

However, I am all alone in the cockpit, and sometimes I am missing a copilot to share the chore of flying (writing the flight plan, looking for the radio contacts on the way, calculating the fuel required, defining the alternate airports, …,) read out the check lists, take over part of the flight.

Now I have discovered that for less than 15$ I can take a copilot along with me in the cockpit: Linda. Linda is an AI powered “plug-in” that can take the right hand seat in several cockpits. In addition to the Cessna she is certified to fly the A319 and A320 and I am pretty sure she will be available to fly several other airplane types.

You can interact with Linda using your voice, exactly as you would do with a human pilot in real life flight.

The amount of technologies converging to deliver this capabilities is amazing. From voice recognition and voice syntheses to real time image rendering to deliver a credible interface. In addition AI is used to interpret the interactions and match them to the context of flying a pane.

Having a copilot is not just a way to have a more entertaining experience, It is also a way to get better and better in flying an aircraft getting guidance from AI. Notice that X-plane 11 embeds an AI fly support, a function that let you handover the control to the simulator and let it keep flying. However, having the possibility of interacting with AI, as it happens with Linda, makes it possible to learn from it.

I am pretty sure that much more will become available in the future and what we are seeing in this flight simulator will become part of many other applications. The long term goal, I think, is to embed continuous education in any activity and create a sort of symbioses between us and the machine that are shifting from being a tool to becoming a partner.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.