If self-driving cars make you nervous, this announcement by Airbus will make you freak out! A feat of engineering, the Autonomous Taxiing, Take-Off, and Landing (ATTOL) system was demonstrated by Airbus with an A350. The system was used to automatically taxi and take-off, keeping the airplane on the centerline while compensating for crosswinds. With this step, modern airplanes can offer assistance to the crew in all phases of flight.
In the press release issued on January 16th, 2020, we can read: “The aircraft performed as expected during these milestone tests. While completing alignment on the runway, waiting for clearance from air traffic control, we engaged the auto-pilot,” said Airbus Test Pilot Captain Yann Beaufils. “We moved the throttle levers to the take-off setting and we monitored the aircraft. It started to move and accelerate automatically maintaining the runway centre line, at the exact rotation speed as entered in the system. The nose of the aircraft began to lift up automatically to take the expected take-off pitch value and a few seconds later we were airborne.”